There is only one horse on the earth
and his name is All Horses.
There is only one bird in the air
and his name is All Wings.
There is only one fish in the sea
and his name is All Fins.
There is only one man in the world
And his name is All Men.
There is only one woman in the world
and her name is All Women.
There is only one child in the world
and the child’s name is All Children.
There is only one Maker in the world
and His children cover the earth
and they are named All God’s Children.
You ask why Sandburg is the poet for our time. This piece above is my reply.
He saw early on that we are all in this together. That our democracy must grow stronger and wider and ever more inviting. That our religious and ethical commitments must find a way to see the divine in all God’s people and all creation.
I was recently sitting with a group of clergy, all concerned about the common good. We kept returning to the idea that the prevailing mood in 2017 is fear and anger and resentment. A tribalism feels like it is coming on strong: nationalism and white supremacy and fear of the other.
Maybe I’ll rent a box and a megaphone. Go to the street corner and read this poem over and over. Maybe it will sink in. I need the reminder. It appears others do as well.
The great story comes to mind about Merton’s epiphany. He is on the corner of 4th and Walnut in Louisville. Amidst his longing and his deep desire for solitude, he saw all the passersby, all the people and he realized in that moment that he was one with them. That all humanity had a deep dignity and a deep beauty. Oh, I wish I could stop them and tell them, each one of them, how beautiful they are and how they shine bright as the sun.
I love this Sandburg, who reminds us of our deepest dreams and our highest ideals. That we are all one, that democracy can hold all the different types of folks, that everyone is invited to the party.
The people, yes is the title of one of Sandburg’s most well known works. The people, yes.
The people, yes. All the people. All of us in our crazy diversity, one. One. One.