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Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Death Snips Proud Men


              1DEATH is stronger than all the governments because
     the governments are men and men die and then
     death laughs: Now you see 'em, now you don't.

              2Death is stronger than all proud men and so death
     snips proud men on the nose, throws a pair of
     dice and says: Read 'em and weep.

              3Death sends a radiogram every day: When I want
     you I'll drop in--and then one day he comes with a
     master-key and lets himself in and says: We'll
     go now.

              4Death is a nurse mother with big arms: 'Twon't hurt
     you at all; it's your time now; just need a
     long sleep, child; what have you had anyhow
     better than sleep?

Notes

1] snips: cuts down with scissors (cf. Atropos, the fate who cut the thread of men's life).

3] radiogram: wireless message.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Carl Sandburg, Smoke and Steel (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920), p. 60. PS 3537 A61856 1920 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1920
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/7

Rhyme: abcb


Other poems by Carl Sandburg