I WISH to God I never saw you, Mag.
I wish you never quit your job and came along with me.
I wish we never bought a license and a white dress
For you to get married in the day we ran off to a minister
And told him we would love each other and take care of
each other
Always and always long as the sun and the rain lasts anywhere.
Yes, I’m wishing now you lived somewhere away from here
And I was a bum on the bumpers a thousand miles away
dead broke.
I wish the kids had never come
And rent and coal and clothes to pay for
And a grocery man calling for cash,
Every day cash for beans and prunes.
I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.
I wish to God the kids had never come.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Carl Sandburg's poem Mag


  1. Reb says:

    Carl Sandburg’s wife was Lillian Steichen – he called her Paula. This poem can’t be about Carl Sandburg’s own marriage.

  2. Heather says:

    When I think of marriage, I think of this poem.

  3. Liz says:

    To me, this poem is the lament of a very tired, hardworking man. Life is hard – he has many bills to pay and he struggles to support his wife & children. Right now he feels as if he were failing as a husband & father. Perhaps, indeed, it would have been better if he had not met Mag, and if the children had not come.

  4. Andafe says:

    The sonnet is very sad and it shows all the poet’s regret:in fact,in my opinion,the idea that he wants to forget his past life,his wife and above all his children is really deplorable.If the poet really thinks these horrible things,it means that he has not loved his wife since their first meeting and he has lied to himself and to the other people for this long period.I can not undersatand how a religious person, because Carl Sandburg must believe in God since he nominates Him in his work,can say these awful words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Carl Sandburg better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.