Sandburg Essay

590 words - 3 pages

Carl Sandburg presents various examples of the destructive nature of war in his poem “Grass.” Primarily, he exemplifies time as a destructive force, covering up the carnage of war. In the first stanza of the poem, Sandburg writes “I am the grass; I cover all.” This line exhibits how natural forces such as time eventually obscure the havoc wreaked by catastrophic wars. This is the true horror of war—colossal massacres are perpetrated throughout history, and over time the true impact of these gruesome events is forgotten. This forgetfulness is exhibited in the poem when the train passengers ask the conductor “What place is this?// Where are we now?” Society often focuses only on the events currently occurring in the present, ignoring crimes committed in the past, as well as not heeding further destruction in the future. Throughout the entire course of the poem, Sandburg utilizes structure and imagery to support this idea of time as a destructive force.
Sandburg’s structure reflects the chaos and confusion often left by war. Written in free verse, the poem contains no regular rhyme scheme or metrical pattern, giving the reader an overall disorganized and scattered feeling. In addition, Sandburg employs several breaks throughout the poem to further disturb the rhythmic flow and add a sense of chaos. For example, Sandburg’s utilization of a dash in the first stanza: “Shovel them under and let me work—I am the grass; I cover all” disturbs the reader’s thought in mid-sentence, adding confusion. Likewise, the use of the two questions in the end of the second stanza achieves this effect as well, as these are the only two interrogative sentences in the entire poem. Furthermore, Sandburg’s use of anaphora highlights the idea of the nature of time covering up destruction within war. In the...

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