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Sherwood Anderson

1876–1941

Sherwood Anderson was born in Ohio in 1876. A writer of poetry, fiction, and plays, he published two books of verse, Mid-American Chants (John Lane Company, 1918) and A New Testament (Boni and Liveright, 1927). He died on March 8, 1941. 

By This Poet

3

Evening Song

My song will rest while I rest. I struggle along. I'll get back to the corn and
   the open fields. Don't fret, love, I'll come out all right.

Back of Chicago the open fields. Were you ever there—trains coming toward
   you out of the West—streaks of light on the long gray plains? Many a
   song—aching to sing.

I've got a gray and ragged brother in my breast—that's a fact. Back of
   Chicago the open fields—long trains go west too—in the silence. Don't
   fret, love. I'll come out all right.

Spring Song

In the forest, amid old trees and wet dead leaves, a shrine.
Men on the wet leaves kneeling.
The spirit of God in the air above a shrine.

Now, America, you press your lips to mine,
Feel on your lips the throbbing of my blood.
Christ, come to life and life calling,
Sweet and strong.

Spring. God in the air above old fields.
Farmers marking fields for the planting of the corn.
Fields marked for corn to stand in long straight aisles.

In the spring I press your body down on wet cold new-plowed ground.
Men, give your souls to me.
I would have my sacred way with you.

In the forest, amid old trees and wet dead leaves, a shrine.
Men rising from the kneeling place to sing.
Everywhere in the fields now the orderly planting of corn.

Song for Lonely Roads

Now let us understand each other, love,
Long time ago I crept off home,
To my own gods I went.

The tale is old,
It has been told
By many men in many lands.
The lands belong to those who tell.
Now surely that is clear.

After the plow had westward swept,
The gods bestowed the corn to stand.
Long, long it stood,
Strong, strong it grew,
To make a forest for new song.

Deep in the corn the bargain hard
Youth with the gods drove home.
The gods remember,
Youth forgets.
Doubt not the soul of song that waits.

The singer dies,
The singer lives,
The gods wait in the corn,
The soul of song is in the land.
Lift up your lips to that.