A dig through the archives of the University of Illinois has uncovered an unpublished poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Carl Sandburg.
Ernie Gullerud, a former professor of social work at the university, came upon a previously unpublished poem by Carl Sandburg titled “A Revolver,” which addresses the issue of guns and violence.
Gullerud has volunteered at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library every Thursday for more than seven years. For the past two years, he’s been working to classify and enter a file folder of poems into the school’s electronic system.
He was working through poems by Sandburg this month when he came across “A Revolver” typed on scratch paper and recognized its relevance to current cultural debates across the country.
A timely find.
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.