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Crimson Changes People

by Carl Sandburg, 1920

Did I see a crucifix in your eyes
 and nails and Roman soldiers
 and a dusk Golgotha?

 Did I see Mary, the changed woman,
 washing the feet of all men,
 clean as new grass
 when the old grass burns?

 Did I see moths in your eyes, lost moths,
 with a flutter of wings that meant:
 we can never come again.

 Did I see No Man’s Land in your eyes
 and men with lost faces, lost loves,
 and you among the stubs crying?

 Did I see you in the red death jazz of war
 losing moths among lost faces,
 speaking to the stubs who asked you
 to speak of songs and God and dancing,
 of bananas, northern lights or Jesus,
 any hummingbird of thought whatever
 flying away from the red death jazz of war?

 Did I see your hand make a useless gesture
 trying to say with a code of five fingers
 something the tongue only stutters?
 did I see a dusk Golgotha?

Published in Smoke and Steel

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