Losers 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?”