TEN minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver
on him.
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be
hauled away to the scrap yard.
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory
hand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettes
Against the sky
Here in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work of
the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag
in the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men
all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Carl Sandburg's poem Ready to Kill


  1. Who is speaking ,who is the audience, what conflict/problem does the address

  2. Jeremy says:

    Yo Ray he was only in the military for a year at best and was never actually in combat but other than that i agree with your idea.

  3. Sally says:

    this poem is pretty good. i thought it would be more like peoople were actuallyu thinking of going to go kill others. oh, and by the way Stephanie you spelled Ray’s last name wrong, and also dude.

  4. PoetPatriot.com says:

    It is the soldier that Protects the freedom and maintians the peace. Without a ready and willing military other professions become the drudgery of slavery. Statues in a free society honor those who place thier lives in harms way to protect the lives of those who plow the fields, bake our bread, and man the markets.
    Contemporary Poetry to honor, can be found at http://www.PoetPatriot.com.

  5. Stephanie says:

    “ray patterson” you really need to learn how to spell…because you have what.. 5 spelling errors… i appreciate your comment…and i agree with it..but shit dood. get a dictionary! honestly. i am probably half your age, and i know how to spell appreciate, acknowledge, soldier, and chose…hm…i don’t know. whatever.

  6. billy says:

    I believe that this shows his liberal point of view, which in his believing the man defending the country should be put behind the working man in the country. Its a great anology, it really is.

  7. Samantha says:

    I like and appreciate his thoughts, the people who clothe you and feed you should be ahead of the person who kills.

  8. Ray Paterson says:

    This poem was clearly affected by the many years he was in the army. The poem leads me to believe that he didnt fell appreciated while doing the many odd jobs he had. He was the farmer the miner the shop man the factory hand ect. He wasnt deply appreciated untill he came back from the war then he was the outstanding wonderful hard working man he always was.

  9. Ray Paterson says:

    Carl Sandburg’s “Ready To Kill” is about the commen laborer of the world simple not being appreacated, Insted of agnologing the workers of the world they choses to agnologe the killers/soilders of the world.

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.