Verse > Carl Sandburg > Cornhuskers
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Cornhuskers.  1918.
 
47. Legends
 
 
CLOWNS DYING

FIVE circus clowns dying this year, morning newspapers told their lives, how each one horizontal in a last gesture of hands arranged by an undertaker, shook thousands into convulsions of laughter from behind rouge-red lips and powder-white face.
 
STEAMBOAT BILL

When the boilers of the Robert E. Lee exploded, a steamboat winner of many races on the Mississippi went to the bottom of the river and never again saw the wharves of Natchez and New Orleans.
And a legend lives on that two gamblers were blown toward the sky and during their journey laid bets on which of the two would go higher and which would be first to set foot on the turf of the earth again.
 
FOOT AND MOUTH PLAGUE

When the mysterious foot and mouth epidemic ravaged the cattle of Illinois, Mrs. Hector Smith wept bitterly over the government killing forty of her soft-eyed Jersey cows; through the newspapers she wept over her loss for millions of readers in the Great Northwest.
 
SEVENS

The lady who has had seven lawful husbands has written seven years for a famous newspaper telling how to find love and keep it: seven thousand hungry girls in the Mississippi Valley have read the instructions seven years and found neither illicit loves nor lawful husbands.
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PROFITEER

I who saw ten strong young men die anonymously, I who saw ten old mothers hand over their sons to the nation anonymously, I who saw ten thousand touch the sunlit silver finalities of undistinguished human glory—why do I sneeze sardonically at a bronze drinking fountain named after one who participated in the war vicariously and bought ten farms?
 

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