January 2013 | Nate Pedersen

Unknown Sandburg Poem Discovered in Rare Book Library

482px-Carl_Sandburg_NYWTS.jpgIn the midst of a national debate on gun control, a previously undiscovered - and surprisingly pertinent - poem by Carl Sandburg was found by a volunteer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rare book library.

The poem, entitled "A Revolver," meditates on the nature of the weapon and the finality of its effects.  It ends with the following two lines:

"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

The poem was found in a file folder by long-term volunteer Ernie Gullerud, a former professor of social work at the university.  Gullerud volunteers weekly at the library, where he has spent the last two years cataloging a large file folder of poems.  After uncovering the poem, Gullerud passed it on to Valerie Hotchkiss, head of the department.

Sandburg's extensive archive of papers were donated to the University of Illinois by the poet's wife and daughter after he died in 1967. Other undiscovered and unpublished poems by Sandburg likely linger in their midst.

Read the entire poem in an article about its discovery at the Chicago Tribune.

[Photo from Wikipedia]