WHAT does the hangman think about
When he goes home at night from work?
When he sits down with his wife and
Children for a cup of coffee and a
Plate of ham and eggs, do they ask
Him if it was a good day’s work
And everything went well or do they
Stay off some topics and talk about
The weather, base ball, politics
And the comic strips in the papers
And the movies? Do they look at his
Hands when he reaches for the coffee
Or the ham and eggs? If the little
Ones say, Daddy, play horse, here’s
A rope—does he answer like a joke:
I seen enough rope for today?
Or does his face light up like a
Bonfire of joy and does he say:
It’s a good and dandy world we live
In. And if a white face moon looks
In through a window where a baby girl
Sleeps and the moon gleams mix with
Baby ears and baby hair—the hangman—
How does he act then? It must be easy
For him. Anything is easy for a hangman,
I guess.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Carl Sandburg's poem The Hangman at Home


  1. Utkarsh Sharan says:

    I like this poem very much.I never thought that Hangmen could be so emotional!

  2. Bill Cameron says:

    I’d heard this recited many years ago by a folk singer named Russ Kirkpatrick. It was part of a song called “Feathers Trilogy”, which also incorporated a song by Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) called “Hymn”. It was a very thoughtful arrangement, well worth listening to. He had a great singing and speaking voice. If you can find the album, and you like early ’70s folk music, pick it up.

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