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by Carl Sandburg, 1916

I asked a gypsy pal
 To imitate an old image
 And speak old wisdom.
 She drew in her chin,
 Made her neck and head
 The top piece of a Nile obelisk
     and said:
 Snatch off the gag from thy mouth, child,
 And be free to keep silence.
 Tell no man anything for no man listens,
 Yet hold thy lips ready to speak.

Published in Chicago Poems

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