Under the Harvest Moon - Carl Sandburg
from Chicago Poems (1916)

Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.


This piece was written relatively early in Sandburg's career, but already demonstrates the hauntingly evocative imagery created with simple, vernacular language that established Sandburg as a common man's poet. The structural parallels between the two stanzas create an intuitive and aesthetic link between the themes of each respective stanza - love and death - thus highlighting the connection of both to the recurring motif of memory and nostalgia.

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