by Robert Wilkinson
Carl Sandburg was one of America’s best known and beloved 20th century poets, and received three Pulitzer Prizes, two for poetry and one for his bio of Lincoln. Someone just found a previously unpublished poem called “Revolver.” Wow.
From McClatchy, a great article by Bridget Doyle about a great find! The title is “Volunteer finds unknown Carl Sandburg poem focusing on guns, violence," and we are told that “a retired volunteer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made a timely find.”
From the article, ”Ernie Gullerud, a former professor of social work at the university, came upon a previously unpublished poem by Carl Sandburg titled "A Revolver," which addresses the issue of guns and violence.”
"I'm no judge of what makes a great poem, but this one said so much and so succinctly and to the point. I thought 'Golly, someone could have written this today,’ said Gullerud, 83. It's not clear when Sandburg typed the poem...”
So as we move and groove in this time of strange and strident disputes over whether massive killing machines should or should not be regulated in this corner of the Twilight Zone we call Urth, today we hear a distant voice from a past that is still too close for comfort. For your consideration, an echo of a memory from one of the Twilight Zone's timeless bards, “Revolver” by Carl Sandburg:
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 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.
Given the subject matter, I suspect Lincoln's assassination tremendously affected him. As I'm sure the assassination of John F. Kennedy did as well. As it did all of us who were alive at that time. And then Malcolm, then Martin, then Bobby, then John and then.....
We will eventually see the passing of this violent spell of destructive obsession, and enter an era when humanity will graduate into a realm of higher, more compassionate understanding. In that era we will all know, once and for all and for all time, that guns are a useless destructive machine that can only lead to heartbreak when used against human beings. There are other ways to solve the problem of the pandemic violence that plagues humanity than with guns, since violence can never end violence, any more than meanness can end meanness, hate can end hate, fear can end fear, insanity can end insanity, and separateness can end separateness.
“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson