What's this story about ? Really?
It's a question I ask myself quite a bit. I consider all the poems, books, photographs, stories of Sandburg, comments made in passing, by noted critics or by strangers I meet at the coffee shop. I think about the century that has passed and what remains important? Where are the lessons in the lives of others and the past?
Here are some things that bounce back at me. Democracy. Creativity. Study. Music. Reality. Optimism. Fantasy. Expression. Struggle. Truth.
Democracy: His countless writings about politics, socialism, racism, Lincoln, the Wars, American History.
Creativity: His seemingly limitless ability to conjure up a new style, method, subject.
Study: His fascination with details, inovations and exploration of complex subjects.
Music: His passion for collecting, publishing and singing some of Americas most beloved songs.
Reality: His life that was grounded by basic faith in the people.
Optimism: His believing that within those people, is goodness (along with everything else).
Fantasy: He took children's literature to a new place of exaggeration and nonsense...
Expression: As only a poet can, saying things that need to be said.
Struggle: Celebrating the struggle of existence, and not giving in to complacency.
Truth: Always searching... 'Where to? What next?"
I think about these ideas and what we can learn through Sandburg's experience. I think about my early childhood visits to the big white house with goats and books and guitars... and I think about expressing those things forward to the next generation.
My Son, Jonah Bonesteel at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Flat Rock, NC