Quotations by Sandburg, Carl


The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over the harbor and city
on silent haunches, and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“Fog” (1914)
Added on 25-Jun-08 | Last updated 25-Jun-08
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Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work –
I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“Grass” (1918)
Added on 21-May-08 | Last updated 21-May-08
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I am the people – the mob – the crowd – the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“I Am the People, the Mob” (1916)
Added on 9-Jul-08 | Last updated 9-Jul-08
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I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.
 

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“Prairie” (1918)
Added on 27-Aug-08 | Last updated 27-Aug-08
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Lay me on an anvil, O God.
Beat me and hammer me into a crowbar.
Let me pry loose old walls.
Let me lift and loosen old foundations.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“Prayers of Steel” (1920)
Added on 25-Jun-08 | Last updated 25-Jun-08
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Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go, it is not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“Primer Lessons” (1922)
Added on 16-Jul-08 | Last updated 16-Jul-08
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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.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“Revolver”
    (Source)

Date unknown; unpublished poem discovered in 2013.
Added on 22-Jan-13 | Last updated 22-Jan-13
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The republic is a dream.
Nothing happens unless first a dream.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
“Washington Monument by Night” (1922)
Added on 20-Aug-08 | Last updated 20-Aug-08
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Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure whether they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A politician should have three hats: one for throwing in the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
(Attributed)
Added on 22-Jun-12 | Last updated 21-Jun-12
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If you don’t know what to do, sit still and listen. You may hear something.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
Incidentals (1900)
Added on 22-Jun-15 | Last updated 22-Jun-15
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A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
Remembrance Rock, ch. 2 (1948)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
Remembrance Rock, ch. 2 (1948)
Added on 9-Feb-09 | Last updated 9-Feb-09
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If she [America] forgets where she came from, if the people lose sight of what brought them along, if she listens to the deniers and mockers, then will begin the rot and dissolution.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
Remembrance Rock, epilogue, ch. 2 (1948)
Added on 29-Jul-08 | Last updated 29-Jul-08
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Drove up a newcomer in a covered wagon: “What kind of folks live around here?”
“Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?”
“Well, they was mostly a lowdown, lying, thieving gossiping, backbiting kind lot of people.”
“Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of folks you’ll find around here.”
And the dusty gray stranger had just about blended into the dusty gray cottonwoods in a clump on the horizon when another newcomer drove up: “What kind of folks live around here?”
“Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?”
“Well, they was mostly a decent, hard-working, law-abiding, friendly lot of people.” “Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of folks you’ll find around here.”

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
The People, Yes, Poem #52 (1936)
Added on 5-Nov-14 | Last updated 5-Nov-14
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Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
Address to Congress on 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s birth (12 Feb 1959)

Quoted in Congressional Record, vol. 105, p. 2265.

Added on 23-Jul-08 | Last updated 23-Jul-08
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