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Wind Song by Carl Sandburg

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Wind Song: 12/09/13

cover art

My knowledge of poetry is woefully limited and filled mostly with children's poets. It's one of subjects that wasn't covered much in school — beyond the rhyming and syllabic patterns of certain types of poetry. Nor was it a subject (beyond reading translations of Greek epic poetry) I took in college.

Carl Sandburg, though he did write poetry for both children and adults, was off my radar until I was well into my adulthood. I discovered him after moving to the San Francisco Bay area. An oft quoted poem of his is "Fog" because we do get a lot of it.

A librarian friend of mine (well before I became one myself) was looking for homes for her favorite but recently culled books. She had a stack of Sanburg poetry collections and sent them to me. I was by then in the middle of caring for my infant daughter, so the books got stuffed in the back of a very high shelf. Now, though, I am at a point where I can (and want to) take the time to read through my books.

Wind Song by Carl Sandburg is the poet's second collection of children's poetry. Most of the poems were published originally in the 1930s but he wrote sixteen new ones to flesh out the book.

The book is divided into thematic sections: new poems, little people, little album, corn belt, night, blossom themes, and, wind, sea and sky. Each section has a pen and ink illustration by William A. Smith. It's a good combination between Sandburg's gentle words and Smith's sketches of nature.

Sandburg's poetry tends to be short and tends to be easy to read. It's written to be read aloud. I suppose that's true of most poetry but his I can easily hear in my head as I'm reading.

My favorite poem from the collection is "Arithmetic." It's a humorous musing on numbers and mathematics. It ends with this question: "If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic, you or your mother?"

Five stars

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