I don’t know how far Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) thought in terms of gender politics – probably as a poet he just loved the individuality of people and things. But certainly in this poem he manages to reconcile male yearnings with a respect for feminine independence to achieve a balance perhaps not always to be found in the poetry of the past.
Everybody loved Chick Lorimer in our town.
Everybody loved her.
So we all love a wild girl keeping a hold
On a dream she wants.
Nobody knows now where Chick Lorimer went.
Nobody knows why she packed her trunk…
A few old things
And is gone,
Gone with her little chin
Thrust ahead of her
And her soft hair blowing careless
From under a wide hat,
Dancer, singer, a laughing passionate lover.
Were there ten men or a hundred hunting Chick?
Were there five men or fifty with aching hearts?
Everybody loved Chick Lorimer.
Nobody knows where she’s gone.