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(Êàðë Ñàíäáåðã, 1878 - 1967)
American Poet and Biographer, winner of the Poetry Society Prize in 1919, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1951
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work -
I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Getysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun,
Shovel them under and let me work
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
“What place is this? Where are we now?”
I am the grass. Let me work.
Twenty men stand watching the muckers.
Stabbing the sides of he ditch
Where clay gleam yellow,
Driving the blades of their shovels
Deeperand deeper for the new gas mains,
Wipping sweat off their faces
With red bandanas.
The muckers work on ... pausing ... to pull
Their boots out of suckholes where they slosh.
Of twenty looking on
Ten murmur, “O, it’s a hell of a job,”
Ten others, “Jesus, I wish I had the job...”
© 2001 Elena and Yakov Feldman