Carl Sandburg was a poet, biographer, journalist, and editor from the United States.

He was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes: two for poetry and one for an Abraham Lincoln biography.

Sandburg was known as “a prominent figure in modern literature” during his lifetime, particularly for his books of collected poems, such as Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920).

We have made a list of some of the best quotes from Carl Sandburg for you.


Best Carl Sandburg Quotes

“Be careful with your words, once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

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“Nothing happens unless first we dream.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Money buys everything except love, personality, freedom, immortality, silence, peace.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“The greatest certainty in life is death. The greatest uncertainty is the time.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

Top Carl Sandburg Quotes

“To work hard, to live hard, to die hard, and then go to hell after all would be too damned hard.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if the women don’t get you then the whiskey must.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease but the quacking duck gets shot.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“To be a good loser is to learn how to win.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Beware of advice-even this.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Look out how you use proud words. When you let proud words go, it is not easy to call them back. They wear long boots, hard boots; they walk off proud; they can’t hear you calling. Look out how you use proud words.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“The single clenched fist lifted and ready, Or the open asking hand held out and waiting. Choose: For we meet by one or the other.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

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“A tree is best measured when it is down – and so it is with people.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

Famous Carl Sandburg Quotes

“Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“The past is a bucket of ashes.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Come on, you do you want to live forever?” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Time is the coin of your life. You spend it. Do not allow others to spend it for you.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Yesterday is done. Tomorrow never comes. Today is here. If you don’t know what to do, sit still and listen. You may hear something. Nobody knows.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Poetry is a diary kept by a sea creature who lives on land and wishes he could fly.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

Popular Carl Sandburg Quotes

“Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Love your neighbor as yourself; but don’t take down the fence.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“The fog comes on little cat feet.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Poetry is a fresh morning spider-web telling a story of moonlit hours of weaving and waiting during a night.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Such a Big miracle in such a tiny baby. Big things often have small beginnings. A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“There is only one child in the world and the Child’s name is All Children.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Poetry is a mystic, sensuous mathematics of fire, smoke-stacks, waffles, pansies, people, and purple sunsets.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Now is the time. It is never too late to start something.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Drum on your drums, batter on your banjos, sob on the long cool winding saxophones. Go to it, O jazzmen.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“An expert is a damn fool a long way from home.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

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“The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“The machine yes the machine never wastes anybody’s time never watches the foreman never talks back.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

Inspiring Carl Sandburg Quotes

“Anger is the most impotent of passions. It effects nothing it goes about, and hurts the one who is possessed by it more than the one against whom it is directed.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Shame is the feeling you have when you agree with the woman who loves you that you are the man she thinks you are.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“God, let me remember all good losers.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Men of ideas vanish when freedom vanishes.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men. There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women. There is only one child in the world and the child’s name is All Children.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).

“Our lives are like a candle in the wind.” ~ (Carl Sandburg).


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