J is for Joy

American poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) may be most remembered for his three Pulitzer Prizes and his Presidential biography, titled Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

His most famous poem was probably “Corn Huskers,” published in 1919 and winning a Pulitzer in poetry. But here’s one of my personal favorites, in which Sandburg set forth his own perception of what joy might have looked like.

by Carl Sandburg

Let a joy keep you.
Reach out your hands
And take it when it runs by,
As the Apache dancer
Clutches his woman.
I have seen them
Live long and laugh loud,
Sent on singing, singing,
Smashed to the heart
Under the ribs
With a terrible love.
Joy always,
Joy everywhere –
Let joy kill you!
Keep away from the little deaths.

Last year’s A to Z post: Job of Justice

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Apache Couple by F.A. Rinehart
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Favorite Classic Poems
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  1. Hi, I absolutely love the language of poetry. You can paint pictures with poetry that cannot be done with prose quite so easily. Carl Sandburg is one of my favorites, too. I love his "I Hear America Singing". Best wishes to you. Ruby

  2. How fantastic! I have visited Carl Sandburg's former home. It is lovely.... what impressed me the most were all his books!

    He also wrote a poem about the woman I featured in my Letter A entry: A is for Adelaide Crapsey. Don't you love these A to Z coincidences?

    My A to Z subject is Women Writers in Literary History. I am a poet also, so I was delighted to find your A to Z topic is poetry. In fact, my I post, I is for Ina Coolbrith, who was the first Poet Laureate of the State of California.

    Kindreds, unite!

    Julie Jordan Scott
    Fellow A to Z Challenge Writer
    twitter: @juliejordanscot
    I is for Ina Coolbrith
    On a Mission to Spread Word-Love Throughout the World

  3. That is a sweet J entry. I need to share it with my sister, Joy.

    Play off the Page