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Accomplished Fact: About Emily Dickinson

Poem by Carl Sandburg


Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg

MPI / Archive Photos / Getty Images

In this poem, Carl Sandburg refers to Emily Dickinson as well as several historical figures. What do you think is the meaning of his reference to Emily Dickinson? How does this relate to his conclusion?

Every year Emily Dickinson sent one friend
the first arbutus bud in her garden.

In a last will and testament Andrew Jackson
remembered a friend with the gift of George
Washington's pocket spy-glass.

Napoleon too, in a last testament, mentioned a silver
watch taken from the bedroom of Frederick the Great,
and passed along this trophy to a particular friend.

O. Henry took a blood carnation from his coat lapel
and handed it to a country girl starting work in a
bean bazaar, and scribbled: "Peach blossoms may or
may not stay pink in city dust."

So it goes. Some things we buy, some not.
Tom Jefferson was proud of his radishes, and Abe Lincoln
blacked his own boots, and Bismarck called Berlin a wilderness of brick and newspapers.

So it goes. There are accomplished facts.
Ride, ride, ride on in the great new blimps -
Cross unheard-of oceans, circle the planet.
When you come back we may sit by five hollyhocks.
We might listen to boys fighting for marbles.
The grasshopper will look good to us.

So it goes....

This poem is in the public domain, originally published 1920

More on Emily Dickinson


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