Carl Sandburg


A biography, sirs, should begin—with the breath of a man
when his eyes first meet the light of day—then working on
through to the death when the light of day is gone:
so the biography then is finished—unless you reverse the order
and begin with the death and work back to the birth—
starting the life with a coffin, moving back to a cradle—
in which case, sirs, the biography has arrived, is completed
when you have your subject born, except for ancestry, lineage,
forbears, pedigree, blood, breed, bones, backgrounds—
               and these, sirs, may be carried far.