Grass by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg’s Grass is a short poem written from the point of view of grass. It does not refer to a specific area of grass, but instead it implies that it is all the grass talking. The grass is talking about famous sites of battles, and saying to pile the bodies high, and he will take care of the rest. What he means is that the bodies of those slain will naturally decompose over a period of time. Repetition is used throughout the poem in a few different ways. The grass tells the reader to “Shovel them under and let me work” and reminds the reader twice that “I am the grass”. This is important to the reader because it reiterates the fact that we are reading something grass has to say, and not reading something a person said. It can be argued that allusion is used in Grass by noting that the names of the cities Austerlitz, Waterloo, Gettysburg, Ypres, and Verdun have to be recognized by the reader as famous places where battles have taken place. Without realizing this it is difficult to appreciate what the grass is saying about piling the bodies high.
When looking through the poem it is hard to find any words with connotations; everything is taken literally. The chosen wording places an image in the reader’s head of barren fields long abandoned with small hills and ridges covered in grass. Though the poem is about the death and decomposition of hundreds of people, it does not give off a feel of eeriness, but instead a feeling of tranquility.