Mag by Carl Sandburg |

  • Sat Jan 18th, 2014 6:49pm
  • Life



I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.

I wish you never quit your job and came along with me.

I wish we never bought a license and a white dress

For you to get married in the day we ran off to a minister

And told him we would love each other and take care of each


Always and always long as the sun and the rain lasts anywhere. Yes, I’m wishing now you lived somewhere away from here

And I was a bum on the bumpers a thousand miles away dead


I wish the kids had never come

And rent and coal and clothes to pay for

And a grocery man calling for cash,

Every day cash for beans and prunes.

I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.

I wish to God the kids had never come.



About This Poem

Carl Sandburg’s “Mag” was first published in his collection Chicago Poems (1916). This volume, along with Cornhuskers (1918) and Smoke and Steel (1920), established Sandburg’s reputation as a talented free verse poet, known for portraying industrial America.


Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on Jan. 6, 1878. Sandburg received a Pulitzer Prize for his biography on Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1939), and a second Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for his Complete Poems (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1950). Carl Sandburg died in 1967.