Then came Oscar, the time of the guns,
And there was no land for a man, no land for a country,
Unless guns sprang up
And spoke their language.
The how of running the world was all in guns.
The law of a God keeping sea and land apart,
The law of a child sucking milk,
The law of stars held together,
They slept and worked in the heads of men
Making twenty-mile guns, sixty-mile guns,
Speaking their language
Of no land for a man, no land for a country
Unless… guns… unless… guns.
There was a child wanted the moon shot off the sky,
asking a long gun to get the moon,
to conquer the insults of the moon,
to conquer something, anything,
to put it over and run up the flag,
To show them the running of the world was all in guns.
There was a child wanted the moon shot off the day.
They dreamed… in the time of the guns… of guns.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 5, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“Long Guns” was published in the April/May 1919 issue of Others.
Carl Sandburg was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes in his lifetime—the first in 1919 for his poetry collection Corn Huskers, the second in 1940 for his biography Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, and the third in 1951 for Complete Poems.
Date Published: 1919-05-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/long-guns