Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
By Carl Sandburg
WHAT have I saved out of a morning?
The earliest of the morning came with moon-mist
And the travel of a moon-spilt purple:
Bars, horse-shoes, Texas long-horns,
Linked in night silver,        5
Linked under leaves in moonlit silver,
Linked in rags and patches
Out of the ice-houses of the morning moon.
Yes, this was the earliest—
Before the cowpunchers on the eastern rims        10
Began riding into the sun,
Riding the roan mustangs of morning,
Roping the mavericks after the latest stars.
What have I saved out of a morning?
Was there a child face I saw once        15
Smiling up a stairway of the morning moon?
“It is time for work,” said a man in the morning.
He opened the faces of the clocks, saw their works,
Saw the wheels oiled and fitted, running smooth.
“It is time to begin a day’s work,” he said again,        20
Watching a bullfinch hop on the rain-worn boards
Of a beaten fence counting its bitter winters.
The clinging feet of the bullfinch and the flash
Of its flying feathers as it flipped away
Took his eyes away from the clocks—his flying eyes.        25
He walked over, stood in front of the clocks again,
And said, “I’m sorry; I apologize forty ways.”
The morning paper lay bundled,
Like a spear in a museum,
Across the broken sleeping-room        30
Of a moon-sheet spider.
The spinning work of the morning spider’s feet
Left off where the morning paper’s pages lay
In the shine of the web in the summer-dew grass.
The man opened the morning paper: saw the first page,        35
The back page, the inside pages, the editorials;
Saw the world go by, eating, stealing, fighting;
Saw the headlines, date-lines, funnies, ads,
The marching movies of the workmen going to work, the workmen striking,
The workmen asking jobs—five million pairs of eyes look for a boss and say, “Take me”;        40
People eating with too much to eat, people eating with nothing in sight to eat tomorrow, eating as though eating belongs where people belong.
“Hustle, you hustlers, while the hustling’s good,”
Said the man, turning the morning paper’s pages,
Turning among headlines, date-lines, funnies, ads.
“Hustlers carrying the banner,” said the man,        45
Dropping the paper and beginning to hunt the city;
Hunting the alleys, boulevards, back-door by-ways;
Hunting till he found a blind horse dying alone,
Telling the horse, “Two legs or four legs—it’s all the same with a work plug.”
A hayfield mist of evening saw him        50
Watching the moon-riders lose the moon
For new shooting-stars. He asked,
“Christ, what have I saved out of a morning?”
He called up a stairway of the morning moon
And he remembered a child face smiling up that same stairway.        55

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