Carl Sandburg





The Potato Face Blind Man Who Lost the Diamond Rabbit on His Gold Accordion


    There was a Potato Face Blind Man used to play an accordion on the Main Street 
corner nearest the postoffice in the Village of Liver-and-Onions.
    Any Ice Today came along and said, “It looks like it used to be an 18 carat gold 
accordion with rich pawnshop diamonds in it; it looks like it used to be a grand 
accordion once and not so grand now.”
    “Oh, yes, oh, yes, it was gold all over on the outside,” said the Potato Face 
Blind Man, “and there was a diamond rabbit next to the handles on each side, 
two diamond rabbits.”
    “How do you mean diamond rabbits?” Any Ice Today asked.
    “Ears, legs, head, feet, ribs, tail, all fixed out in diamonds to make a nice rabbit 
with his diamond chin on his diamond toenails. When I play good pieces so 
people cry hearing my accordion music, then I put my fingers over and feel of 
the rabbit’s diamond chin on his diamond toenails, ‘Attaboy, li’l bunny, attaboy, 
li’l bunny.’”
    “Yes I hear you talking but it is like dream talking. I wonder why your accordion 
looks like somebody stole it and took it to a pawnshop and took it out and 
somebody stole it again and took it to a pawnshop and took it out and somebody 
stole it again. And they kept on stealing it and taking it out of the pawnshop and 
stealing it again till the gold wore off so it looks like a used-to-be-yesterday.”
    “Oh, yes, o-h, y-e-s, you are right. It is not like the accordion it used to be. It 
knows more knowledge than it used to know just the same as this Potato Face 
Blind Man knows more knowledge than he used to know.”
    “Tell me about it,” said Any Ice Today.
    “It is simple. If a blind man plays an accordion on the street to make people 
cry it makes them sad and when they are sad the gold goes away off the accordion. 
And if a blind man goes to sleep because his music is full of sleepy songs like 
the long wind in a sleepy valley, then while the blind man is sleeping the diamonds 
in the diamond rabbit all go away. I play a sleepy song and go to sleep and I wake 
up and the diamond ear of the diamond rabbit is gone. I play another sleepy song 
and go to sleep and wake up and the diamond tail of the diamond rabbit is gone. 
After a while all the diamond rabbits are gone, even the diamond chin sitting on 
the diamond toenails of the rabbits next to the handles of the accordion, even those 
are gone.”
    “Is there anything I can do?” asked Any Ice Today.
    “I do it myself,” said the Potato Face Blind Man. “If I am too sorry I just play the 
sleepy song of the long wind going up the sleepy valleys. And that carries me away 
where I have time and money to dream about the new wonderful accordions and 
post offices where everybody that gets a letter and everybody that don’t get a letter 
stops and remembers the Potato Face Blind Man.”