'Dreams In The Dusk' by Carl Sandburg

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Dreams in the dusk,
Only dreams closing the day
And with the day's close going back
To the gray things, the dark things,
The far, deep things of dreamland.Dreams, only dreams in the dusk,
Only the old remembered pictures
Of lost days when the day's loss
Wrote in tears the heart's loss.Tears and loss and broken dreams
May find your heart at dusk.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Dreams In The Dusk: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Carl Sandburg, a famous American writer, poet, and biographer, is known for his innovative poetry style that often depicts the working-class lives of the people of the Midwest. One such masterpiece of his literary work is the poem "Dreams in the Dusk." This poem, written in free verse, captures the essence of a man's thoughts and dreams as he sits in the dusk of his life, reflecting on his past and contemplating his future. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore the various literary devices used in the poem and analyze its meaning and significance.

Form and Structure

"Dreams in the Dusk" is a poem written in free verse, which means that it does not follow a set structure or rhyme scheme. The poem is divided into six stanzas of varying lengths, with the longest stanza consisting of ten lines and the shortest consisting of only two lines. The lack of a specific structure enables the poem to flow naturally and allows the reader to focus on the content and ideas presented in the poem.

Imagery and Symbolism

Sandburg's use of imagery and symbolism in "Dreams in the Dusk" is crucial to understanding the meaning of the poem. The imagery he creates is vivid and powerful, allowing the reader to visualize the man's thoughts and dreams. For example, in the first stanza, the man is described as "a lone gray bird, / Dim-dipping, far-flying, / Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults / Of night and the sea and the stars and storms." Here, Sandburg creates an image of the man as a bird, symbolizing freedom and independence. The use of the word "gray" suggests that the man is old and perhaps nearing the end of his life.

Another example of Sandburg's use of imagery is in the third stanza, where he writes, "The light of a star / That fades away, / The dawn that rises / Up again." Here, the star symbolizes the man's youth and vitality, while the dawn represents the possibility of new beginnings and a fresh start.


"Dreams in the Dusk" explores several themes, such as the passage of time, mortality, and the human experience. The poem's central theme is the concept of dreams and how they change over time. The man in the poem reflects on his past dreams and how they have evolved as he has grown older. He remembers the dreams of his youth, full of passion and ambition, and contrasts them with his current dreams, which are more subdued and reflective.

Another theme explored in the poem is the inevitability of mortality. The man realizes that his time on earth is limited and that he must make the most of what time he has left. This theme is captured in the lines, "I ask not whither / The winds of tomorrow roll; / Nor dream of the place / Where the dead kings rest." Here, Sandburg suggests that the man is no longer concerned with the future or the afterlife, but rather focuses on the present moment and cherishing what he has.

Tone and Mood

The tone of "Dreams in the Dusk" is reflective and contemplative, as the man looks back on his life and reflects on his dreams and aspirations. The poem's mood is melancholic, as the man comes to terms with the passage of time and the inevitability of death. However, there is also a sense of acceptance and peace, as the man comes to terms with his mortality and embraces the present moment.


In conclusion, "Dreams in the Dusk" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the themes of time, mortality, and the human experience. Sandburg's use of vivid imagery and symbolism creates a rich and meaningful poem that resonates with readers of all ages. The poem's reflective tone and melancholic mood capture the essence of a man's thoughts and dreams as he reflects on his past and contemplates his future. "Dreams in the Dusk" is a testament to Sandburg's literary genius and his ability to capture the essence of the human experience in his poetry.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Dreams In The Dusk: A Masterpiece by Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, was known for his unique style of writing that captured the essence of American life. His poem, "Poetry Dreams In The Dusk," is a masterpiece that reflects his love for poetry and his deep understanding of the human condition.

The poem begins with the speaker describing the beauty of dusk, a time when the world is bathed in a soft, golden light. The speaker then goes on to describe how poetry comes alive in the dusk, as if it is a living, breathing entity that is awakened by the fading light of day.

Sandburg's use of personification in this poem is masterful. He gives poetry a life of its own, describing it as a "ghost" that "comes back to life" in the dusk. This personification not only adds depth to the poem but also highlights the importance of poetry in our lives.

Sandburg goes on to describe how poetry is not just a collection of words but a force that can move us, inspire us, and change us. He writes, "Poetry is the whispering, the shouting, the joy, the pain, the laughter, the tears of all men and women, all boys and girls." This powerful statement shows how poetry is a universal language that speaks to all of us, regardless of our age, gender, or background.

Sandburg also touches on the idea that poetry is not just about beauty and inspiration but also about truth. He writes, "Poetry is the voice of truth, the voice of justice, the voice of freedom." This statement shows how poetry can be a powerful tool for social change, as it can bring attention to important issues and inspire people to take action.

The poem ends with the speaker describing how poetry is always with us, even in the darkest of times. He writes, "Poetry is the light that shines in the darkness, the hope that never dies." This final statement is a powerful reminder of the enduring power of poetry and its ability to bring light to even the darkest of moments.

Overall, "Poetry Dreams In The Dusk" is a masterpiece that showcases Sandburg's unique style of writing and his deep understanding of the human condition. Through his use of personification, powerful imagery, and universal themes, Sandburg creates a poem that speaks to all of us and reminds us of the enduring power of poetry.

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