'Poems Done On A Late Night Car' by Carl Sandburg

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I. CHICKENSI am The Great White Way of the city:
When you ask what is my desire, I answer:
"Girls fresh as country wild flowers,
With young faces tired of the cows and barns,
Eager in their eyes as the dawn to find my mysteries,
Slender supple girls with shapely legs,
Lure in the arch of their little shoulders
And wisdom from the prairies to cry only softly atthe ashes of my mysteries."II. USED UPLines based on certain regrets that come with ruminationupon the painted faces of women onNorth Clark Street, ChicagoRoses,Red roses,Crushed
In the rain and wind
Like mouths of women
Beaten by the fists of
Men using them.O little rosesAnd broken leavesAnd petal wisps:
You that so flung your crimsonTo the sun
Only yesterday.III. HOMEHere is a thing my heart wishes the world had more of:
I heard it in the air of one night when I listened
To a mother singing softly to a child restless and angryin the darkness.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Poems Done on a Late Night Car: A Study in Carl Sandburg's Poetry

What is it about Carl Sandburg's poetry that makes it so enduring and unforgettable? Perhaps it is his ability to capture the essence of America, its people, and its landscapes in a way that is both simple and profound. Or maybe it is his use of language, which is often as evocative as it is precise. Whatever the reason, Sandburg's Poems Done on a Late Night Car is a collection that deserves to be studied and appreciated by anyone who loves poetry.


Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American poet, journalist, and biographer. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois, and spent much of his childhood in poverty. Despite this, he was able to attend college and eventually became a successful writer. Sandburg's poetry is known for its accessibility and its use of free verse. He often wrote about everyday people and their struggles, as well as the natural beauty of America.

Poems Done on a Late Night Car was first published in 1919. The collection consists of 36 poems, many of which were written while Sandburg was working as a journalist in Chicago. The poems are characterized by their vivid imagery, musical language, and emotional depth.

Themes and Analysis

One of the most striking things about Poems Done on a Late Night Car is its range of subjects. Sandburg writes about everything from the beauty of nature ("Stars") to the horrors of war ("Killers") to the simple pleasures of life ("Happiness"). However, there are certain themes that recur throughout the collection.

Loneliness and Isolation

Many of Sandburg's poems deal with the theme of loneliness and isolation. In "The Harbor" and "Under a Hat Rim," the speaker is alone at night, contemplating his place in the world. In "Limited," the speaker is on a train, feeling disconnected from the world around him. Even in "Happiness," the speaker is alone, enjoying the simple pleasures of life but still aware of his solitude.

Nature and the Environment

Sandburg was a lover of nature, and many of his poems celebrate the beauty of the natural world. In "Stars," he describes the night sky as a "singing archipelago" and compares the stars to "a great herd of buffalo" moving across the sky. In "Fish Crier," he paints a vivid picture of a fish seller calling out his wares in the street.

Everyday Life

Sandburg was also interested in the lives of everyday people. In "Early Moon," he describes a factory worker coming home from a long day's work. In "Happiness," he celebrates the joy of a simple meal and a quiet evening at home. In "The Great Hunt," he satirizes the obsession with material possessions that he saw in American society.

War and Violence

Sandburg was a pacifist and a critic of war, and several of his poems deal with the theme of violence. In "Killers," he describes the atrocities committed by soldiers during World War I. In "The Four Brothers," he mourns the loss of four soldiers who died in battle. In "The Red Son," he criticizes those who use violence to achieve their goals.

Style and Technique

Sandburg's style is characterized by its simplicity and accessibility. He often uses short lines and simple language, which makes his poetry easy to understand. However, this simplicity is deceptive, as Sandburg's poems are also full of complex images and ideas.

One of Sandburg's most distinctive techniques is his use of repetition. He often repeats words and phrases, which creates a musical quality in his poetry. In "Fish Crier," he repeats the phrase "Fish, fish" to mimic the call of the fish seller. In "Stars," he repeats the phrase "They are" to emphasize the vastness and beauty of the night sky.

Sandburg also uses metaphor and simile to great effect in his poetry. In "Stars," he compares the night sky to "a singing archipelago." In "Limited," he describes the train as "a long, thin caterpillar." These comparisons are often surprising and inventive, and they help to create the vivid imagery that is one of Sandburg's trademarks.


Poems Done on a Late Night Car is a collection that showcases Carl Sandburg's many talents as a poet. His ability to capture the beauty of nature, the struggles of everyday people, and the horrors of war makes his poetry both powerful and enduring. His use of repetition, metaphor, and simile creates a musical quality that is both accessible and complex. If you love poetry, this collection is a must-read.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Poems Done On A Late Night Car: An Analysis

Carl Sandburg's "Poetry Poems Done On A Late Night Car" is a classic poem that has been studied and analyzed by scholars and poetry enthusiasts alike. This poem is a perfect example of Sandburg's unique style of writing, which is characterized by his use of free verse, colloquial language, and vivid imagery. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and literary devices used in this poem to understand its meaning and significance.

The poem begins with the speaker describing a late-night car ride with a friend. The speaker is in a reflective mood and begins to think about poetry. He wonders what poetry is and what it means to him. He then goes on to describe the different types of poetry that he has encountered in his life, from the traditional sonnets to the modernist free verse. The speaker is trying to understand what makes poetry so special and why it has such a profound impact on people.

One of the main themes of this poem is the power of poetry. The speaker is trying to understand why poetry has such a profound impact on people. He describes how poetry can make people feel emotions that they never thought were possible. He says that poetry can make people feel happy, sad, angry, or even scared. The speaker is trying to understand how poetry has the power to move people in such a profound way.

Another theme of this poem is the importance of individuality. The speaker describes how there are many different types of poetry, each with its own unique style and voice. He says that each poet has their own way of expressing themselves and that this is what makes poetry so special. The speaker is trying to convey the message that everyone has their own unique voice and that this should be celebrated.

The structure of this poem is also interesting. It is written in free verse, which means that it does not follow a specific rhyme or meter. This gives the poem a more conversational tone, as if the speaker is talking to the reader directly. The lack of structure also allows the speaker to explore different ideas and themes without being constrained by a specific form.

The poem also uses a variety of literary devices to convey its message. One of the most prominent devices used in this poem is imagery. The speaker uses vivid descriptions to paint a picture in the reader's mind. For example, he describes the "night wind" as "a wildcat" and the "streetlights" as "yellow cats." These descriptions help to create a sense of atmosphere and mood.

Another literary device used in this poem is repetition. The speaker repeats the phrase "what is poetry" several times throughout the poem. This repetition helps to emphasize the importance of this question and shows that the speaker is truly trying to understand what poetry means to him.

The poem also uses metaphor to convey its message. The speaker compares poetry to a "wild horse" that cannot be tamed. This metaphor helps to convey the idea that poetry is something that cannot be controlled or contained. It is something that is free and wild, just like a horse running through a field.

In conclusion, Carl Sandburg's "Poetry Poems Done On A Late Night Car" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the themes of the power of poetry and the importance of individuality. The poem's structure, use of literary devices, and vivid imagery all work together to create a unique and memorable reading experience. This poem is a testament to Sandburg's skill as a poet and his ability to capture the essence of what makes poetry so special.

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