National Poetry Month — Losers by Carl Sandburg

Because I’m caught up in life and this is the poetry conversation I’m having in my head. I’m feeling like a loser on some things, the things I’m letting slide…but perhaps not *all* of the important things. So today’s poetry conversation is with myself!


by Carl Sandburg

IF I should pass the tomb of Jonah
I would stop there and sit for awhile;
Because I was swallowed one time deep in the dark
And came out alive after all.

If I pass the burial spot of Nero
I shall say to the wind, “Well, well!”—
I who have fiddled in a world on fire,
I who have done so many stunts not worth doing.

I am looking for the grave of Sinbad too.
I want to shake his ghost-hand and say,
“Neither of us died very early, did we?”

And the last sleeping-place of Nebuchadnezzar—
When I arrive there I shall tell the wind:
“You ate grass; I have eaten crow—
Who is better off now or next year?”

Jack Cade, John Brown, Jesse James,
There too I could sit down and stop for awhile.
I think I could tell their headstones:
“God, let me remember all good losers.”

I could ask people to throw ashes on their heads
In the name of that sergeant at Belleau Woods,
Walking into the drumfires, calling his men,
“Come on, you … Do you want to live forever?

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3 thoughts on “National Poetry Month — Losers by Carl Sandburg

  1. You are so not a loser just because other pieces of your life need more of your time right now.

    I hadn’t read this poem before (I’m very unread in poetry) but I just love this line,

    Because I was swallowed one time deep in the dark
    And came out alive after all.

    Hang in there.

    1. Those are my favorite lines too and soooo apropos to how I’m feeling right now. (To be clear, I’m not sad or emotionally overwhelmed, just busybusybusy. A good busy. But a feeling-my-way-in-the-dark, learning-as-I-go busy.)

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