. fangs pointed for tearing gashes . I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so. O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness. . . . No matter where this speaker is going, he takes comfort in the forces within him. The baboon is not described completely flatteringly. Likewise, the poet talks about the uninhabited region which every human has. yawping a galoot’s hunger . Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analysing poetry on Poem Analysis. . The wolf has several features that the narrator wants to adapt to his own life. Sandburg uses personification, allusions, and free verse with an emphasis on the imperative tense to express nature as a divine being, covering up the casualties of human intervention. and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want . before land was . It came before “Noah,” and before, “the first chapter of Genesis.” It is the beginning of life. . a snout and a belly . before the water went down . Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7. . I sniff and guess . . They are so integral to his being it is like they are inside him. He knows that he is the “keeper” of the zoo and must remain dedicated to the power of the “wilderness” from which he came. Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Please log in again. In his youth, he worked many odd jobs before serving in the 6th Illinois Infantry in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. This is especially effective when the poem is quite short as this one is. The city of Chicago is referred to as if it were a living, breathing, vibrant person. The city described in the poem is living, breathing, vibrant. There is a wolf in me . These include but are not limited to anaphora, repetition, personification, and allusion. a silver-gray fox . He contains the first fish-like creature to ever walk on the planet, a sign of his spiritually important pedigree. . . ‘Wilderness’ by Carl Sandburg begins with the speaker’s first description of the state of his interior spiritual being. There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird . It is almost physical. However, the literal meaning of the wilderness is “an uninhabited region”. Every single person that visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support. . I know I came from salt-blue water-gates . Join the conversation by. I scurried with shoals of herring . dog-faced . There is a fish in me … I know I came from saltblue water-gates … I scurried with shoals of herring … I blew waterspouts with porpoises … before land was … before the water went down … before Noah … before the first chapter of Genesis. Throughout the poem, as he depicts the creatures of which he is made, then strives to create for himself a pedigree of “Wilderness.” He wants to define and layout for his readers the source of his senses and strength. He begins by speaking about the “blood-red” wolf who gives him undeniable strength. . The login page will open in a new tab. here they hide curled asleep waiting . The stanzas of this piece are irregular in their line numbers, syllables, and patterns of the meter. here are the blonde and blue-eyed women . . . clambering-clawed . The poet emphasizes the fact that the “Wilderness gave” him this skill or strength, and he is unwilling to “let it go.” It is a permanent part of him that he will work to maintain. The wolf is strong and sure in its actions. . The first creature mentioned is a fish, but not just a fish. Poet Carl Sandburg was born into a poor family in Galesburg, Illinois. This smaller, less powerful bird, “warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone.” It has a simple beauty about it that also touches the mind of the speaker. ‘Wilderness’ by Carl Sandburg appears in his poetry collection “The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg” (1970). It uses repetition really nicely as well as personification, hyperbole, metaphor, and alliteration. That does not mean that the poem is without a sense of unity. Sources: [Anne Sexton, Dylan Thomas, Larry Levis, Ingeborg Bachmann, Octavio Paz, Henri Michaux, Agnes Nemes Nagy, Joyce Mansour, William Burroughs, Meret Oppenheim, Mary Low, Adrienne Rich, Carl Sandburg], © Academy of American Poets, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901, New York, NY 10038. O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs. The speaker states that “the wilderness” gave him the wolf and there is no force on earth that could take it from him. What's your thoughts? He speaks of the “fangs pointed for tearing gashes.” The wolf’s teeth are made for this purpose. a machinery for eating and grunting . Personification - giving human characteristics to something nonhuman. before the first chapter of Genesis. I pick things out of the wind and air . Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest and greatest poetry updates. The wolf’s body is made to kill and feast. Some examples of poetic devices used by Carl Sandburg: ... "Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness." . But it cannotcrystal bone into thin air.The small hours open their wounds for me.This is a woman's confession:I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me. Additionally, the poet has added a second refrain to the end of each section. He then moves onto the “silver-grey fox” who is both cunning and vicious. a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go. The second stanza of ‘Wilderness’ by Carl Sandburg is made up of two complementary sections that speak on distinct animals with which the speaker feels a bond. . and find homework help for other Chicago Poems questions at eNotes . These two birds could not be more different. . There is a baboon in me … clambering-clawed … dog-faced … yawping a galoot’s hunger … hairy under the armpits … here are the hawk-eyed hankering men … here are the blond and blue-eyed women … here they hide curled asleep waiting … ready to snarl and kill … ready to sing and give milk … waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so. In fact, it is spoken of as being “dog-faced” and as having “hair under the armpits.” This animal has been added to the array of those that the speaker has access to depict variety. I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers . . These creatures are not obvious in their benefits but the speaker makes clear why they matter to him. . Once more the section ends with the powerful statement, “the wilderness will not let it go.” From here on out the ending refrain will be slightly altered. He is comparing a dog to a wild man. The poet throws light into his mind and reflects how it resembles the real wilderness outside in the world. Not every part of this man is perfect and strong. He is a part of the world and will take care of all that which he contributes to it. There is a fox in me … a silver-gray fox … I sniff and guess … I pick things out of the wind and air … I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers … I circle and loop and double-cross. Very quick. After reading the poem it becomes clear what the main idea of the poem is. . . . You can read the full poem Wilderness here. This aquatic animal is the first of all creatures on the Earth. Lastly, he has a dichotomy of birds. ‘Wilderness’ by Carl Sandburg is a five stanza, narrative poem, that is distinguished by its long lines and extended style. Carl Sandburg was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes in his lifetime—the first in 1919 for his poetry collection Corn Huskers, the second in 1940 for his biography Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, and the third in 1951 for Complete Poems. It is a “machine for eating and / grunting.” It is shown as being as single-minded as the wolf and as conniving as the fox. Through his embodiment of the fox, he can “sniff and guess.” He can use his enhanced senses to “pick things out/ of the wind and air.” The fox is described as being somewhat sly and conniving. . . There is a fox in me . He is unwilling to “let it go”. The second animal depicted in the third stanza is a “hog.” While not as graceful as a fox or wolf, the hog has equal eating power. It is clear that he is envious of this creature and is striving to gain some part of it. The next stanzas speak of his ability to keep a “hog” and an extremely unattractive baboon inside of him. . . There is a fish in me . . I circle and loop and double-cross. . It is the mind, the region that is there, neglected, and abandoned. They are both birds, an eagle, and a mockingbird. The final section speaks on the narrator’s dedication to maintaining his interior zoo as well as all that which makes him a lover, mother and father. Carl Sandburg - 1878-1967 There is a wolf in me … fangs pointed for tearing gashes … a red tongue for raw meat … and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go. . . It can tap into his “wishes.” Of all the animals in this piece, these final two are the most different from one another, but also the clearest in their representation of this man. As the poem progresses the speaker moves from creature to creature, repeating the refrain of, “There is a…” and following it up with a specific animal.

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