English poetry

Poems in English

Buttons

Buttons

I HAVE been watching the war map slammed up for
Advertising in front of the newspaper office.
Buttons red and yellow buttons blue and black buttons
Are shoved back and forth across the map.

A laughing young man, sunny with freckles,
Climbs a ladder, yells a joke to somebody in the crowd,
And then fixes a yellow button one inch west
And follows the yellow button with a black button one
Inch west.

(Ten thousand men and boys twist on their bodies in
A red soak along a river edge,
Gasping of wounds, calling for water, some rattling
Death in their throats.)
Who would guess what it cost to move two buttons one
Inch on the war map here in front of the newspaper
Office where the freckle-faced young man is laughing
To us?



Poem Buttons - Carl Sandburg