Dr. Steve Stewart
20 October 2013
"Grass" by Carl Sandburg is a poem filled with depth and complexity. The beginning line of the poem stating, "Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo" (Sandburg, Carl line 1) shows that there were several bodies left over from war. This historical allusion has a colorful meaning because Austerlitz and Waterloo were two horrific warzones. The bodies are "shoveled under" at those places because there were too many bodies to give a proper burial.
"I am the grass; I cover all." (Sandburg line 3) is personification that illustrates the notion that grass grows very slowly, while people die quickly. The people are in the ground just as long as the grass grows. This means that it covers all because the bodies were widely spread. Also, a body takes time to decompose "becoming" the grass. The poem mentions two more battlefields.
"And pile them high at Gettysburg and pile them high at Ypres and Verdun." (Sandburg 4-5) These warzones were very brutal areas of combat. The use of repetition in these lines brings out the severity of the events that happened there. More grass covers this area, the same way that it covers every other battleground. Furthermore, the battlefields mentioned were not all in close proximity; therefore, the stretch of grass goes on for miles and miles.
The most compelling lines of the poem are those describing the time period of which the grass still stands. "Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: What place is this? Where are we now?" (Sandburg lines 7-9) The years of which the grass is still present seems infinite in Sandburg's eyes. The questions that the passengers ask are rhetorical. The area of which they are...