“Ploughboy” by Carl Sandburg

My mother read the poem to me when I was six years old, and she told me her mother read it to her when she was six, when the poem was only 8 years old, a recent work. Now the poem is 105 years old. It still has the power of striking imagery, still has the ability to make us consider the point of view; it’s still a moving poem.


After the last red sunset glimmer,
Black on the line of a low hill rise,
formed into moving shadows, I saw
A plowboy and two horses lined against the gray,
Plowing in the dusk the last furrow.
The turf had a gleam of brown,
And smell of soil was in the air,
And, cool and moist, a haze of April.

I shall remember you long,
Plowboy and horses against the sky in shadow.
I shall remember you and the picture
You made for me,
Turning the turf in the dusk
And haze of an April gloaming.


About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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7 Responses to “Ploughboy” by Carl Sandburg

  1. I grew up in Nebraska, but in Omaha which isn’t an insignificant city. Farming is a world different 105 years after this poem was written. And yet this poem makes me incredibly homesick. Sandburg was something.

  2. Sandburg was something, as Katherine says. But sadly, he’s pretty much forgotten at the University level. In the poetry classes I took for my Ph.D. Sandburg was never mentioned.

  3. Richard says:

    Even more sadly, poetry itself seems to be dying.

  4. Such an interesting phenomenon, the sharing of written words across generations. Amazing.

  5. When I was a youngster, I was required to memorize poems by my teachers. That is totally gone from elementary education today. On the other end of the education spectrum, there are very few doctoral level courses on poetry–other than the infamous “workshop” classes where students who don’t know much about poetry get to write it. It’s a sad situation.

  6. Pingback: ffb: Wind Song | The Broken Bullhorn

  7. Todd Mason says:

    Part of the reason that the poetry MFA candidates in my departments were insufferable was that they tended to dote less on the William Staffords and Audre Lordes (though a little more on the latter) and more on the Jim Morrisons. Stephen Vincent who? Was he a bassist?

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