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Lines Written for Gene Kelly To Dance To
Carl Sandburg


Spring is when the grass turns green and glad.
Spring is when the new grass comes up and says, "Hey, hey!
Hey, hey!"
Be dizzy now and turn your head upside down and see how
the world looks upside down.
Be dizzy now and turn a cartwheel, and see the good earth
through a cartwheel.

Tell your feet the alphabet.
Tell your feet the multiplication table.
Tell your feet where to go, and, and watch ‘em go and come back.

Can you dance a question mark?
Can you dance an exclamation point?
Can you dance a couple of commas?
And bring it to a finish with a period?

Can you dance like the wind is pushing you?
Can you dance like you are pushing the wind?
Can you dance with slow wooden heels
and then change to bright and singing silver heels?
Such nice feet, such good feet.

This poem is in the public domain.


Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967) was an American poet, children’s author, and biographer. The son of Swedish parents who immigrated to Illinois, Carl was forced to drop out of school after the eighth grade to help support the family. He worked at a number of different jobs, then did a stint as a hobo before volunteering to serve in the Spanish-American war. A plain-speaking poet with a style similar to that of Walt Whitman, Carl often chose American life as his subject matter--especially industry, agriculture, and the common man. Like Whitman, he attended several colleges, but never received a degree, except for honorary ones bestowed years later on the merit of his work.


Post New Comment:
Love Gene and Carl. Hope they are both still dancing :)
Posted 04/17/2015 12:21 PM
Larry Schug:
It's funny how we take poets out of their context. The juxtaposition of Sandburg and Gene Kelly kind of threw me; an association I never would have dreamed up. Yes, poets do live in the same world as everyone else.
Posted 04/17/2015 08:10 AM
Wilda Morris:
Interesting poem. I don't remember having read it before.
Posted 04/17/2015 07:56 AM
I'm from Chicago and Carl Sandberg worked for the Chicago Daily News as did my father,,,the story that went around was that someone in the office dressed as Abraham Lincoln and walked by Sandberg who absent mindedly said "Hello Abe" as he passed by ...This was a wondeful wide awake Carl...
Posted 04/17/2015 12:18 AM

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