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Mag Analysis

Author: Poetry of Carl Sandburg Type: Poetry Views: 739

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I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.

I wish you never quit your job and came along with me.

I wish we never bought a license and a white dress

For you to get married in the day we ran off to a minister

And told him we would love each other and take care ofeach other

Always and always long as the sun and the rain lasts anywhere.

Yes, I'm wishing now you lived somewhere away from here

And I was a bum on the bumpers a thousand miles awaydead broke.I wish the kids had never comeAnd rent and coal and clothes to pay forAnd a grocery man calling for cash,Every day cash for beans and prunes.I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.I wish to God the kids had never come.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This is a beautiful love poem - one of the most profound I know of...
Why do I say that? Because he is saying it to Mag - he is still with her. He has stayed through all of the down times. Most love poms are beautiful sentiments and don't address how you would (or IF you would) love in adversity. Most love poems are romantic - this poem is real and real where things are not right.
He remembers their vows - "And told him we would love each other and take care of each other always and always long as the sun and the rain lasts anywhere." Yes, he has kept those vows and he is still in love. I don't know of any love poem that so effectively speaks to real love in real adversity...

| Posted on 2016-05-25 | by a guest

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did Carl Sandburg write about his life experiences in the poem 'Mag'.

| Posted on 2009-11-27 | by a guest

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Hey, Jaycee, glad to see someone else care enough about this American Good Old Boy to know something about him. I don't think that Carl wrote this about his own marriage though. And he only had three daughters. He did struggle for money. In the early days, working as a newspaper reporter might have paid $25 to $50 a week. His poetry only brought in a few hundred dollars a year back then. The lecture tours you refer to did bring additional money, but there was another reason for them too. As Carl traveled about he collected additional information about Lincoln for the books he was going to write, and additional folksongs to add to his American Songbag collection.
But this poem shows the utter dispair of the working class. Carl was a champion of the working man. He was deeply disturbed knowing that while he struggled to raise a family on fifty bucks a week, some people were earning only six. As for Carl and Paula in later life, Paula had her own work going on at the family farm, and people were taking advantage of Carl when he was older, he had the social leaches plying him with booze and blowing smoke up his tailpipe. Carl did much performing in his latter years. I'd rather remember him the way he was when he first started getting published, and his children were growing up. I think he was truly a great fellow.

| Posted on 2005-02-18 | by Sandburg

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Sandburg, makes full use of the first person to emphasise his harsh feeling about marriage and the responsibilities of a family. Although he remained married to his wife until her death, their marriage was not a happy one in it's later years.
The words of this poem reflect his bitterness from his marriage and his constant need for money due to his five children and medical bills. Sandburg was known to have fits of deep depression over family issues, and would go on lecturing tours to avoid being with his wife, and those pressures.
Inccidently his reference to being a bum, was first hand knowledge. He did ride boxcars across America living the life of the mentioned bum in his youth, so his lament may have been as much for that carefree life as the bitterness of the vision.
This poem is an example of why he was known as "The People's Poet". His language is the standard American language of the working class, and represents their emotions and lifestyle. it's also timeless in it's theme of love fading in the face of the drudgery of everyday life.

| Posted on 2004-11-04 | by jaycee

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