Verse > Carl Sandburg > Smoke and Steel > IV. Playthings of the Wind > 8. Losers
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Smoke and Steel. 1922.
  
IV. Playthings of the Wind
8. Losers
  
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        5
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,        10
“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?”        15
  
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        20
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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