Alley Rats

Carl Sandburg

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They were calling certain styles of whiskers by the name of “lilacs.”
And another manner of beard assumed in their chatter a verbal guise
Of “mutton chops,” “galways,” “feather dusters.”

Metaphors such as these sprang from their lips while other street cries
Sprang from sparrows finding scattered oats among interstices of the curb.
Ah-hah these metaphors—and Ah-hah these boys—among the police they were known
As the Dirty Dozen and their names took the front pages of newspapers
And two of them croaked on the same day at a “necktie party” … if we employ the metaphors of their lips.

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Comments1
  • SilverredGamer

    Just finished reading Alley Rats for my English assignment. Wasn’t really into it tho 😕 The metaphors were creative but a bit too much for my taste, made it hard to get the actual message of the poem. (Too much noise, not enough signal, if you know what I mean). Anyway, happy I got this done. Homework is a pain. 😖 Moving on to the next assignment now.✌️