Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Testament

I give the undertakers permission to haul my body  
to the graveyard and to lay away all, the head, the  
feet, the hands, all: I know there is something left  
over they can not put away.  
  
Let the nanny goats and the billy goats of the shanty
people eat the clover over my grave  and if any yellow  
hair or any blue smoke of flowers is good enough to grow  
over me  let the dirty-fisted children of the shanty  
people pick these flowers.  
  
I have had my chance to live with the people who have
too much and the people who have too little and I chose  
one of the two and I have told no man why.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes in his lifetime—the first in 1919 for his poetry collection Corn Huskers, the second in 1940 for his biography Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, and the third in 1951 for Complete Poems.

Date Published: 1918-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/testament