Followers of Society: Stationed at the “Subway”

Carl Sandburg’s poem “Subway”, written in 1916 is a sestet with no ending rhyme pattern for each line. The content of this poem leads me to believe that the subway has increased as one of the primary modes of transportation during this time period. The lines that illustrated the subway’s looks and usage influenced my interpretation of this poem: “Down between the walls of shadow/Where the iron laws insist,/ the hunger voices mock” (1-3). Sandburg’s words here emphasizes how the subway has become a necessary means of travel, especially for working class citizens. Therefore, if one was not taking notice of technological advances, it was certain that they were “behind the times” and not progressing as society was. Also, following this way of life was necessary to live and progress through life successfully and keeping up with these changes was crucial.

For my imitation of Sandburg’s “Subway”, I want to emphasize on technology and how Social Media Logotype Backgroundpeople have followed the ever changing technological behaviors of society. For an example, social media, e-mailing, and texting is a huge role in today’s society to communicate with one another, causing more introversion from the world around us. While this is true, other forms of communication such as actually talking one on one or calling someone becomes harder and harder to do due to the lack of oral communication in today’s society. For my poem, I want to emphasize how society is stationed in a progressive world, but more so in seclusion. I’ve decided to name it “Computer” since everything dealing with technology of this kind has computers to configure the commands to be processed.


Eyes focused on screens of wordage
Where cyberspace infinitely exists,
The typing sounds speak.
One’s voice subsiding now
With a secluded and subdued message,
Flow their ideas through space.

Sandburg, Carl “Subway.” The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. Ed. Jahan Ramazani, Richard Ellmann, and Robert O’Clair. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003. 228. Print.

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2 Responses to Followers of Society: Stationed at the “Subway”

  1. Victoria C. says:

    Carl Sandburg’s sestet, “The Subway” has no rhyme scheme and uses capitalism in the beginning of every line which I think makes it very modern. I really thought this poem was very interesting and I also agree that after reading this poem that was written in 1916 that it led me to believe the subway has increased as one of the prime means of transportation during the early 1900s. I like your interpretation of Sandburg and how you used to imitate it with technology. I definitely see the connection with how people follow the ever changing technological behaviors of society. I also agree that social media and texting has caused this world to suffer from introversion. Every where you go you always see people on constantly on their cell phones, either looking stuff up, texting someone, or on a social media. It’s not very common any more to see people hanging out and being social physically like going to a coffee. Nowadays people who do meet at coffee shops or whatever are still on their phones or laptops. I feel like technology has caused us laziness and introversion and people are so shy to introduce themselves to the world because they’re always online. So it makes calling people on the phone so awkward uncomfortable because people are just not used to it anymore. I like how your poem followed Sandburg’s sestet of six lines and you used the same punctuation of commas and capitalization as he did. But overall I really like how you compared Sandburg’s poem, “Subway” to technology.

  2. Prof VZ says:

    Your poem captures that sense of technology as somehow numbing quite well, as though we are absorbed into the technology we used and away from more spontaneous interactions (Sandburg’d “laughter”). Very interesting imitation!

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