by Carl Sandburg

Many ways to say good night.

Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July
      spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.
They fizz in the air, touch the water and quit.
Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue
      and then go out.

Railroad trains at night spell with a smokestack mushrooming a white pillar.

Steamboats turn a curve in the Mississippi crying a baritone that crosses lowland 
cottonfields to razorback hill.

It is easy to spell good night.
            Many ways to spell good night.


This poem is in the public domain.


To celebrate the 4th of July, I chose to share this Carl Sandburg’s poem instead of trying to come up with my own.

I learned of Carl Sandburg as a child in Chicago. The first part of this poem reminds me of fireworks over the city, imagining what it was like downtown to see them at Navy Pier. As a kid, I’d lay atop my dresser, (…I was six or seven…) and look out the windows in the corner of my room, watching the fireworks display from a near by forest preserve.

Happy Independence Day, USA!

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