I am riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains of the nation.
Hurtling across the prairie into blue haze and dark air go fifteen all-steel coaches holding a thousand people.
(All the coaches shall be scrap and rust and all the men and women laughing in the diners and sleepers shall pass to ashes.)
I ask a man in the smoker where he is going and he answers: “Omaha.”
It's a profound poem wrapped in a shell of the everyday, and it's title is perhaps taken as a commentary on the mundane mindset.
I wouldn't think Sandburg means anything by relating Omaha specifically to non-existence, possibly the name of the city just scans, or represents the heartland, but then I think of Strindberg naming his famous play about marriage "The Dance of Death" and wonder...
Q: Did Sandburg have any negative feelings about the wonderful city of Omaha?