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Steve Joos

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Popular Poetry (Biography)
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Gunslingers and poets
by Steve Joos
Monday, August 30, 2010
Not rated by the Author.
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           >> View all 94

Galesburg and Monmouth are roughly 15 miles apart on U.S. Highway 67 in West-central Illinois. Both towns have small liberal arts colleges (Knox and Monmouth, respectively), connections to Abraham Lincoln and railroading (this is Illinois, after all) and prominent citizens. Wyatt Earp was from Monmouth (a western lawman) and Carl Sandburg (the poet) hailed from Galesburg. I visited both towns and the respective historical sites on my vacation in 1998.
In addition to his poetry, Sandburg wrote a highly respected biography of Lincoln, who spoke in an area which was (at least in 1998) next to Wyatt Earp's birthplace.

How strange it seems,

How lives are made

in different ways

on the same street.

 

Two men from neighboring towns,

just a few miles apart.

One a man of words,

the other a frontier lawman.

 

One came from Galesburg,

and rode the rails

following them north

to write of fog like catbird's feet

and cities of big shoulders.

 

to say that babies were God's way

of letting the world go on

in verse like hyachinths and biscuits.

 

One came from Monmouth

and traveled west to wear a star,

to make a land and be a

legend known near and far,

a little boy's hero.

 

One wrote of a great man

who spoke not far from

where the other was born

 

they live on

for better, for worse,

separated by a highway

and a place in time.

 

 

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Reviewed by Regis Auffray 8/30/2010
Yes life is indeed interesting, Steve. Thanks for sharing. Love and peace,

Regis
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