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Savoir Faire by Carl Sandburg
CAST a bronze of my head and legs and put them on the king’s street.
Set the cast of me here alongside Carl XII, making two Carls for the Swedish people and the utlanders to look at between the palace and the Grand Hotel.
The summer sun will shine on both the Carls, and November drizzles wrap the two, one in tall leather boots, one in wool leggins.
Also I place it in the record: the Swedish people may name boats after me or change the name of a long street and give it one of my nicknames.
The old men who beset the soil of Sweden and own the titles to the land—the old men who enjoy a silken shimmer to their chin whiskers when they promenade the streets named after old kings—if they forget me—the old men whose varicose veins stand more and more blue on the calves of their legs when they take their morning baths attended by old women born to the bath service of old men and young—if these old men say another King Carl should have a bronze on the king’s street rather than a Fool Carl—
Then I would hurl them only another fool’s laugh—
I would remember last Sunday when I stood on a jutland of fire-born red granite watching the drop of the sun in the middle of the afternoon and the full moon shining over Stockholm four o’clock in the afternoon.
If the young men will read five lines of one of my poems I will let the kings have all the bronze—I ask only that one page of my writings be a knapsack keepsake of the young men who are the bloodkin of those who laughed nine hundred years ago: We are afraid of nothing—only—the sky may fall on us.
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