"The Road and the End"

My English 12 students are currently wrapping up a poetry unit. We only had a few weeks, but students used Poets.org and PoetryFoundation.org to research a poet of their choice and create a project that illustrated pivotal moments in their lives with poems using Prezi and Blogger. We squeezed in Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Naomi Shihab Nye and Carl Sandburg into our class discussions and had a fabulous time reading and sharing. Students were finding and reading poems and then staying after class to discuss them--it was beautiful, truly an English teacher's dream.

Currently students are explicating one of the several poems we discussed in class---today, a student pulled the headphones from her ears and said, "Ms. Helzer have you ever read The Road and The End by Carl Sandburg?" I have read a lot of Carl Sandburg--but this is one that I had not read until today. It's a breathtaking piece that I thought I'd share:

The Road and the End

by Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg
I shall foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.

I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder
Drive the wild processionals of rain.

The dust of the traveled road
Shall touch my hands and face.

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