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Analysis and comments on The Harbor by Carl Sandburg

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Comment 10 of 60, added on November 4th, 2012 at 12:06 PM.
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Comment 9 of 60, added on November 3rd, 2012 at 3:59 PM.
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Comment 8 of 60, added on October 20th, 2012 at 2:27 PM.
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Comment 7 of 60, added on March 8th, 2012 at 5:50 AM.
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Comment 6 of 60, added on September 30th, 2011 at 7:26 PM.
The Harbor

I agree with Jeff. If you transcribe the poem phonetically, you will see
that Sandburg uses the same types of sounds, not just short "u" but sounds
that are dark, dreary, cold, and do not have a vowel in the final syllable.
He is setting a mood and wants the listener to feel the mood.

Suzi from United States
Comment 5 of 60, added on May 20th, 2009 at 8:15 AM.

With the exception of the second, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth line, a
predominant sound throughout the poem is the short "u".

huddled, ugly
hunger
hunger
huddled, ugly
sudden
Not so much on this line: On a blue burst of lake,
under, sun
flung
fluttering, gulls
Masses of great gray wings
And flying white bellies
Veering and wheeling free in the open

I believe Sandburg is using assonance in this poem to set a tone, then
releasing that tone in the final three verses, much like the gulls were
released to wheel free in the open.

Jeff from United States
Comment 4 of 60, added on March 23rd, 2006 at 1:30 PM.

g'day mates. what a wonderful poem. it really does bring out his work.

Steve Adrianes from Australia
Comment 3 of 60, added on July 3rd, 2005 at 7:10 PM.

The contrast of the city to the shore is exquisite. One underlying meaning
one may extricate from the poem is that of one who has has his share of
lovers, all of which left him unsatisfied. Yet the shore, and its image of
gleaming beauty and youth gives the idea of a new love, one with meaning.
The blue lake appears to serve as a symbol for hope and rebirth in the
sexual awareness of the poet.

Stephanie from United States
Comment 2 of 60, added on May 17th, 2005 at 10:40 PM.

a very beautiful poem. at first i thought it was about people being
enslaved or just imprisoned and were hungry, but i asked my english teacher
about it and then thought about it again. it's just a moment in his life.
he's seeing the harbor and the water and takes us through the images as he
sees them. he contrasts the bleak, dark city with the bright and lively
harbor. there's no real message of this poem, it's just images in chicago
as he sees them.

natalie deleon from United States
Comment 1 of 60, added on December 27th, 2004 at 11:33 AM.

such a wonderful poem. one can feel the waves and the fluttering wings of
birds. It is a gift to be so descriptive with words.

vivian elgort from United States

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Information about The Harbor

Poet: Carl Sandburg
Poem: 5. The Harbor
Volume: Chicago Poems
- Chicago Poems
Year: 1912
Added: Feb 4 2004
Viewed: 709 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 28 2004


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