Portrait by Carl Sandburg
(For S. A.)TO write one book in five years
or five books in one year,
to be the painter and the thing painted,
â€¦ where are we, bo?
Waitâ€”get his number.
The barber shop handling is here
and the tweeds, the cheviot, the Scotch Mist,
and the flame orange scarf.
Yet there is moreâ€”he sleeps under bridges
with lonely crazy men; he sits in country
jails with bootleggers; he adopts the children
of broken-down burlesque actresses; he has
cried a heart of tears for Windy MacPhersonâ€™s
father; he pencils wrists of lonely women.
Can a man sit at a desk in a skyscraper in Chicago
and be a harnessmaker in a corn town in Iowa
and feel the tall grass coming up in June
and the ache of the cottonwood trees
singing with the prairie wind?