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Mammy Hums

by Carl Sandburg, 1918

This is the song I rested with:
 The right shoulder of a strong man I leaned on.
 The face of the rain that drizzled on the short neck of a canal boat.
 The eyes of a child who slept while death went over and under.
 The petals of peony pink that fluttered in a shot of wind come and gone.

 This is the song I rested with:
 Head, heels, and fingers rocked to the nigger mammy humming of it, to the mile-off steamboat landing whistle of it.

 The murmurs run with bees’ wings
             in a late summer sun.
 They go and come with white surf
             slamming on a beach all day.

   Get this.
 And then you may sleep with a late afternoon slumber sun.
 Then you may slip your head in an elbow knowing nothing—only sleep.
 If so you sleep in the house of our song,
 If so you sleep under the apple trees of our song,
 Then the face of sleep must be the one face you were looking for.

Published in Cornhuskers

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