Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHICAGO, by CARL SANDBURG



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CHICAGO, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hog butcher for the world
Last Line: Player with railroads, and freight-handler to the nation.
Subject(s): Chicago


Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked, and I believe them, for I have seen
your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked, and I answer: Yes, it is true
I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal, and my reply is: On the faces of
women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this
my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud
to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here
is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never
lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse,
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth; half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads, and Freight-handler to the Nation.




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