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by Carl Sandburg, 1916

Once when I saw a cripple
 Gasping slowly his last days with the white plague,
 Looking from hollow eyes, calling for air,
 Desperately gesturing with wasted hands
 In the dark and dust of a house down in a slum,
 I said to myself
 I would rather have been a tall sunflower
 Living in a country garden
 Lifting a golden-brown face to the summer,
 Rain-washed and dew-misted,
 Mixed with the poppies and ranking hollyhocks,
 And wonderingly watching night after night
 The clear silent processionals of stars.

Published in Chicago Poems

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