Carl Sandburg’s “Honey and Salt”

From a typed-out collection of poems given to me in 1966 that I excavated fom my attic yesterday: this excerpt from the title poem of Honey and Salt  (1963) by Carl Sandburg [1878-1967]:

          How long does love last?
As long as glass bubble handled with care
or two hot-house orchids in a blizzard
or one solid immovable steel anvil
tempered in sure inexorable welding –
or again love might last as
six snowflakes, six hexagonal snowflakes,
six floating hexagonal flakes of snow
or the oaths between hydrogen and oxygen
in one cup of spring water
or the eyes of bucks and does
or two wishes riding upon the back of a
morning wind in winter
or one corner of an ancient tabernacle
held sacred for personal devotions
or dust yes dust in a little solemn heap
played on by changing winds.

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8 thoughts on “Carl Sandburg’s “Honey and Salt”

  1. Many thx for sharing this Cal. I studied it in in a poetry class my sophomore year in college. Re reading this excerpt I have a really different take on it 50 years later.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    1. I have been having similar reactions to the poetry I first read in high school. I liked it then, but it means so much more to me now. Also, I finally begin to understand how some people have decided to stop reading almost anything except poetry. When you stumble upon a poem that captures something perfectly, prose by comparison seems almost superfluous!

    1. Thanks for reading my blog, David. Some of the other parts of this long poem are full of equally wonderful imagery. I had long forgotten how much I had liked Sandburg’s poetry; glad I stumbled across it again!

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