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Poetry Mon Jan 21 2013

Carl Sandburg on Guns

A newly discovered unpublished poem by Carl Sandburg just happens to address a current-day issue in Chicago: gun violence.

A Revolver

Here is a revolver.
It has an amazing language all its own.
It delivers unmistakable ultimatums.
It is the last word.
A simple, little human forefinger can tell a terrible story with it.
Hunger, fear, revenge, robbery hide behind it.
It is the claw of the jungle made quick and powerful.
It is the club of the savage turned to magnificent precision.
It is more rapid than any judge or court of law.
It is less subtle and treacherous than any one lawyer or ten.
When it has spoken, the case can not be appealed to the supreme court, nor any mandamus nor any injunction nor any stay of execution come in and interfere with the original purpose.
And nothing in human philosophy persists more strangely than the old belief that God is always on the side of those who have the most revolvers.

The poem was discovered in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by Ernie Gullerud, a former professor of social work at the university who volunteers at the library. Sandburg died in 1967.

 
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Richard Tinsley / January 23, 2013 11:41 PM

You left out the word "come" after "execution." Please correct.

Andrew Huff / January 24, 2013 11:50 PM

Thanks, Richard, it's been corrected.

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