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by Carl Sandburg, 1916

There’s Chamfort. He’s a sample.
 Locked himself in his library with a gun,
 Shot off his nose and shot out his right eye.
 And this Chamfort knew how to write
 And thousands read his books on how to live,
 But he himself didn’t know
 How to die by force of his own hand—see?
 They found him a red pool on the carpet
 Cool as an April forenoon,
 Talking and talking gay maxims and grim epigrams.
 Well, he wore bandages over his nose and right eye,
 Drank coffee and chatted many years
 With men and women who loved him
 Because he laughed and daily dared Death:
 “Come and take me.”

Published in Chicago Poems

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