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Leather Leggings

by Carl Sandburg, 1918

They have taken the ball of earth
     and made it a little thing.

 They were held to the land and horses;
     they were held to the little seas.
 They have changed and shaped and welded;
     they have broken the old tools and made
     new ones; they are ranging the white
     scarves of cloudland; they are bumping
     the sunken bells of the Carthaginians
     and Phœnicians:
               they are handling
               the strongest sea
               as a thing to be handled.

 The earth was a call that mocked;
     it is belted with wires and meshed with
     steel; from Pittsburg to Vladivostok is
     an iron ride on a moving house; from
     Jerusalem to Tokyo is a reckoned span;
     and they talk at night in the storm and
     salt, the wind and the war.

 They have counted the miles to the Sun
     and Canopus; they have weighed a small
     blue star that comes in the southeast
     corner of the sky on a foretold errand.

 We shall search the sea again.
 We shall search the stars again.
 There are no bars across the way.
 There is no end to the plan and the clue,
     the hunt and the thirst.
 The motors are drumming, the leather leggings
     and the leather coats wait:
                         Under the sea
                         and out to the stars
                         we go.

Published in Cornhuskers

Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.