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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.


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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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