Carl Sandburg quotes

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Carl Sandburg

Birthdate: 6. January 1878
Date of death: 22. July 1967
Other names: Carl August Sandburg

Carl August Sandburg was an American poet, biographer, journalist, and editor. He won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as "a major figure in contemporary literature", especially for volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems , Cornhuskers , and Smoke and Steel . He enjoyed "unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life", and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that "Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America." Wikipedia

Works

Remembrance Rock
Remembrance Rock
Carl Sandburg
Chicago Poems
Chicago Poems
Carl Sandburg
Chicago
Carl Sandburg

„A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.“

—  Carl Sandburg, book Remembrance Rock

Remembrance Rock (1948), Ch. 2, p. 7
Context: A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. A book that does nothing to you is dead. A baby, whether it does anything to you, represents life. If a bad fire should break out in this house and I had my choice of saving the library or the babies, I would save what is alive. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most super-colossal of our supercargo plants, don't compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable. A baby is very modern. Yet it is also the oldest of the ancients. A baby doesn't know he is a hoary and venerable antique — but he is. Before man learned how to make an alphabet, how to make a wheel, how to make a fire, he knew how to make a baby — with the great help of woman, and his God and Maker.

Citát „I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.“

„I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.“

—  Carl Sandburg

Incidentals (1904)
Variant: I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
Source: Breathing Tokens

„Time is the coin of your life. You spend it. Do not allow others to spend it for you.“

—  Carl Sandburg

Declaration at his 85th birthday party (6 January 1963), as quoted in The Best of Ralph McGill : Selected Columns (1980) by Ralph McGill, edited by Michael Strickland, Harry Davis, and Jeff Strickland, p. 82
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
As quoted without source in The School Musician Director and Teacher Vol. 43 (1971) by the American School Band Directors' Association

„Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?“

—  Carl Sandburg

"Grass" (1918)
Context: p>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?</p

„Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen.“

—  Carl Sandburg

Incidentals (1904); this is sometimes paraphrased: "I am an idealist. I believe in everything — I am only looking for proofs."
Context: Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen. Every blunder behind us is giving a cheer for us, and only for those who were willing to fail are the dangers and splendors of life. To be a good loser is to learn how to win. I was sure there are ten men in me and I do not know or understand one of them. I could safely declare, I am an idealist. A Parisian cynic says "I believe in nothing. I am looking for clues." My statement would be : I believe in everything — I am only looking for proofs.

„I believe in everything — I am only looking for proofs.“

—  Carl Sandburg

Incidentals (1904); this is sometimes paraphrased: "I am an idealist. I believe in everything — I am only looking for proofs."
Context: Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen. Every blunder behind us is giving a cheer for us, and only for those who were willing to fail are the dangers and splendors of life. To be a good loser is to learn how to win. I was sure there are ten men in me and I do not know or understand one of them. I could safely declare, I am an idealist. A Parisian cynic says "I believe in nothing. I am looking for clues." My statement would be : I believe in everything — I am only looking for proofs.

„If a bad fire should break out in this house and I had my choice of saving the library or the babies, I would save what is alive. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby.“

—  Carl Sandburg, book Remembrance Rock

Remembrance Rock (1948), Ch. 2, p. 7
Context: A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. A book that does nothing to you is dead. A baby, whether it does anything to you, represents life. If a bad fire should break out in this house and I had my choice of saving the library or the babies, I would save what is alive. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most super-colossal of our supercargo plants, don't compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable. A baby is very modern. Yet it is also the oldest of the ancients. A baby doesn't know he is a hoary and venerable antique — but he is. Before man learned how to make an alphabet, how to make a wheel, how to make a fire, he knew how to make a baby — with the great help of woman, and his God and Maker.

„The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.“

—  Carl Sandburg

"The People, Yes" (1936)
Context: The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold.
And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds.

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„Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.“

—  Carl Sandburg

"Under the Harvest Moon" (1916)
Context: Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

„The United States is, not are. The Civil War was fought over a verb.“

—  Carl Sandburg

Comments at the centennial celebration of the Lincoln-Douglas debates; Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, Oct. 7, 1958. Quoted in Herbert Mitgang, "Again—Lincoln v. Douglas", The New York Times Magazine, Oct. 19, 1958, pp. 26-27.
Context: The United States is, not are. The Civil War was fought over a verb. Orval Faubus don't know that. But he gonna know, he gonna know.

„Yesterday is done. Tomorrow never comes. Today is here. If you don't know what to do, sit still and listen.“

—  Carl Sandburg

Incidentals (1904)
Context: Yesterday is done. Tomorrow never comes. Today is here. If you don't know what to do, sit still and listen. You may hear something. Nobody knows.
We may pull apart the petals of a rose or make chemical analysis of its perfume, but the mystic beauty of its form and odor is still a secret, locked in to where we have no keys.

„Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.“

—  Carl Sandburg, book Remembrance Rock

Variant: Life is an onion - you peel it year by year and sometimes cry.
Source: Remembrance Rock

„The Republic is a dream.
Nothing happens unless first a dream.“

—  Carl Sandburg

"Washington Monument by Night" in Slabs of the Sunburnt West (1922)
Variant: Nothing happens unless first we dream.
Source: The Complete Poems

„Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.“

—  Carl Sandburg

Variant: Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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