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Read more poems by Carl Sandburg: Carl Sandburg Poems at Poetry X.

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Onion Days

Carl Sandburg

Mrs. Gabrielle Giovannitti comes along Peoria Street
     every morning at nine o'clock
With kindling wood piled on top of her head, her eyes
     looking straight ahead to find the way for her old feet.
Her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Pietro Giovannitti, whose
     husband was killed in a tunnel explosion through
     the negligence of a fellow-servant,
Works ten hours a day, sometimes twelve, picking onions
     for Jasper on the Bowmanville road.
She takes a street car at half-past five in the morning,
     Mrs. Pietro Giovannitti does,
And gets back from Jasper's with cash for her day's
     work, between nine and ten o'clock at night.
Last week she got eight cents a box, Mrs. Pietro
     Giovannitti, picking onions for Jasper,
But this week Jasper dropped the pay to six cents a
     box because so many women and girls were answering
     the ads in the Daily News.
Jasper belongs to an Episcopal church in Ravenswood
     and on certain Sundays
He enjoys chanting the Nicene creed with his daughters
     on each side of him joining their voices with his.
If the preacher repeats old sermons of a Sunday, Jasper's
     mind wanders to his 700-acre farm and how he
     can make it produce more efficiently
And sometimes he speculates on whether he could word
     an ad in the Daily News so it would bring more
     women and girls out to his farm and reduce operating
     costs.
Mrs. Pietro Giovannitti is far from desperate about life;
     her joy is in a child she knows will arrive to her in
     three months.
And now while these are the pictures for today there are
     other pictures of the Giovannitti people I could give
     you for to-morrow,
And how some of them go to the county agent on winter
     mornings with their baskets for beans and cornmeal
     and molasses.
I listen to fellows saying here's good stuff for a novel or
     it might be worked up into a good play.
I say there's no dramatist living can put old Mrs.
     Gabrielle Giovannitti into a play with that kindling
     wood piled on top of her head coming along Peoria
     Street nine o'clock in the morning.

Added: 16 Jun 2002 | Last Read: 22 Jan 2018 6:56 AM | Viewed: 3589 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/4728/ | Viewed on 22 January 2018.
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