English poetry

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Ossawatomie

Ossawatomie

I DON’T know how he came,
Shambling, dark, and strong.

He stood in the city and told men:
My people are fools, my people are young and strong, my people must learn, my people are terrible workers and fighters.
Always he kept on asking: Where did that blood come from?

They said: You for the fool killer, you for the booby hatch and a necktie party.

They hauled him into jail.
They sneered at him and spit on him,
And he wrecked their jails,
Singing, “God damn your jails,”
And when he was most in jail
Crummy among the crazy in the dark
Then he was most of all out of jail
Shambling, dark, and strong,
Always asking: Where did that blood come from?
They laid hands on him
And the fool killers had a laugh
And the necktie party was a go, by God.
They laid hands on him and he was a goner.
They hammered him to pieces and he stood up.
They buried him and he walked out of the grave, by God,
Asking again: Where did that blood come from?



Poem Ossawatomie - Carl Sandburg