Carl Sandburg

6 January 1878 – 22 July 1967 / Illinois

California City Landscape

On a mountain-side the real estate agents
Put up signs marking the city lots to be sold there.
A man whose father and mother were Irish
Ran a goat farm half-way down the mountain;
He drove a covered wagon years ago,
Understood how to handle a rifle,
Shot grouse, buffalo, Indians, in a single year,
And now was raising goats around a shanty.
Down at the foot of the mountain
Two Japanese families had flower farms.
A man and woman were in rows of sweet peas
Picking the pink and white flowers
To put in baskets and take to the Los Angeles market.
They were clean as what they handled
There in the morning sun, the big people and the baby-faces.
Across the road, high on another mountain,
Stood a house saying, 'I am it,' a commanding house.
There was the home of a motion picture director
Famous for lavish ****-house interiors,
Clothes ransacked from the latest designs for women
In the combats of 'male against female.'
The mountain, the scenery, the layout of the landscape,
And the peace of the morning sun as it happened,
The miles of houses pocketed in the valley beyond-
It was all worth looking at, worth wondering about,
How long it might last, how young it might be.
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