I TOOK away three pictures.
One was a white gull forming a half-mile arch from the pines toward Waukegan.
One was a whistle in the little sandhills, a bird crying either to the sunset gone or the dusk come.
One was three spotted waterbirds, zigzagging, cutting scrolls and jags, writing a bird Sanscrit of wing points, half over the sand, half over the water, a half-love for the sea, a half-love for the land.

I took away three thoughts.
One was a thing my people call “love,” a shut-in river hunting the sea, breaking white falls between tall clefs of hill country.
One was a thing my people call “silence,” the wind running over the butter faced sand-flowers, running over the sea, and never heard of again.
One was a thing my people call “death,” neither a whistle in the little sandhills, nor a bird Sanscrit of wing points, yet a coat all the stars and seas have worn, yet a face the beach wears between sunset and dusk.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Carl Sandburg's poem Sandhill People

1 Comment

  1. Robert Plasschaert says:

    “Sandhill People”-

    *- The “Sandhill people” Sandburg is making reference to are birds, more specifcally seagulls. He uses the phrase “a thing my people call _______” as a way to futher establish the idea that the Sandhill people are a small society in themselves and that the gulls have words for the emotions he is describing.

    *- The narrator’s point (3): A.) picture,
    B.) location,
    C.) thought
    *-There is a clear cut example of parallelism when comparing the gramatical stucture 1st and 2nd stanza, but there is also a relationship between the ideas within these stanzas.

    I- A.) Flying Seagull over Pine-trees
    B.) Waukegan, IL-
    C.) Love- Compared to a flowing river that tumbles over terrain

    The scene of a gull flying presumably in the daylight brings about the idea of love and excileration. (River thing)

    II- A.) A bird’s cry signaling the begining of night
    B.) Sandhills
    C.) Silence- compared to wind running over terrain, never to be heard again

    The scene of a single bird’s cry brings about the idea of silence (A single sound makes silence more noticable,) and the begining of darkness/death.

    III- A.) 3 waterbirds on the shoreline creating markings in the sand (Bird Sanscrit) The words themselve “zig-zag” like the birds in the stanza because of the use of double gerund phrases.
    B.) Beach/Shoreline
    C.) Death- described as a “coat all the stars and seas have worn” and “A face the beach wears between sunset and dusk”

    The scene of 3 birds scuttling around in the shore brings about the idea death or the end of a day.
    *-(CONFUSING- WHAT DOES THE PHRASE “neither a whistle….” ADD TO THE POEM.??)
    *-Death- invetiable, old, natural, cyclic, etc….
    *-(Maybe change from light to dark, or Day to night, paralleism?)

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