Carl Sandburg reading "The People, Yes"
"Here's a virtual movie of Americas "Peoples" poet Carl Sandburg reading his beautiful social commentative poem "The People, Yes". I adore this reading which is filled full of the Pathos and tragedy of the struggles of the laboring classes in this particular case during the "Great Depression" period of 1930's America,but is as relevant to day as it was all those years ago when he wrote it. Sandburg's gentle voice was tinged with an almost musical melancholic Swedish tone handed down by his Swedish born immigrant Mother and father. Sandburg demonstrates in this great reading how just simple non prosaic words delivered with the unique relaxed eloquence and dexterity he possessed can tug at the emotions of the listener. Listening to this takes me on a beautiful emotional journey as I hope it will you. Carl Sandburg (1878 1967) was the "poet of the people." He found beauty in the ordinary language of the people -- the "American lingo," as he called it -- and turned it into poetry. In the 1920s and '30s Sandburg wrote a six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, praising Lincoln for exemplifying the American spirit. Four of the six volumes won him the Pulitzer Prize. Late in his life, at age 70, Sandburg wrote his first novel, "Remembrance Rock" (1948), a panoramic epic of America. When Sandburg died in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson stated, "There is no end to the legacy he leaves us." Carl Sandburg reads his ode to the American people "The People, Yes" in this 1950s sound recording from his collection of poetry."
"The People Yes"
The people yes
The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold
And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds,
The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,
You can't laugh off their capacity to take it.
The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.
The people so often sleepy, weary, enigmatic,
is a vast huddle with many units saying:
"I earn my living.
I make enough to get by
and it takes all my time.
If I had more time
I could do more for myself
and maybe for others.
I could read and study
and talk things over
and find out about things.
It takes time.
I wish I had the time."
The people is a tragic and comic two-face: hero and hoodlum:
phantom and gorilla twisting to moan with a gargoyle mouth:
"They buy me and sell me...it's a game...sometime I'll
Once having marched
Over the margins of animal necessity,
Over the grim line of sheer subsistence
Then man came
To the deeper rituals of his bones,
To the lights lighter than any bones,
To the time for thinking things over,
To the dance, the song, the story,
Or the hours given over to dreaming,
Once having so marched.
Between the finite limitations of the five senses
and the endless yearnings of man for the beyond
the people hold to the humdrum bidding of work and food
while reaching out when it comes their way
for lights beyond the prison of the five senses,
for keepsakes lasting beyond any hunger or death.
This reaching is alive.
The panderers and liars have violated and smutted it.
Yet this reaching is alive yet
for lights and keepsakes.
The people know the salt of the sea
and the strength of the winds
lashing the corners of the earth.
The people take the earth
as a tomb of rest and a cradle of hope.
Who else speaks for the Family of Man?
They are in tune and step
with constellations of universal law.
The people is a polychrome,
a spectrum and a prism
held in a moving monolith,
a console organ of changing themes,
a clavilux of color poems
wherein the sea offers fog
and the fog moves off in rain
and the labrador sunset shortens
to a nocturne of clear stars
serene over the shot spray
of northern lights.
The steel mill sky is alive.
The fire breaks white and zigzag
shot on a gun-metal gloaming.
Man is a long time coming.
Man will yet win.
Brother may yet line up with brother:
This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
There are men who can't be bought.
The fireborn are at home in fire.
The stars make no noise,
You can't hinder the wind from blowing.
Time is a great teacher.
Who can live without hope?
In the darkness with a great bundle of grief
the people march.
In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people
"Where to? what next?"
Thank you Professor Franklin Lewis.