Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Poem: Chicago by Carl Sandburg


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,
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 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.

by Carl Sandburg (1878- 1967)

Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on January 6, 1878. He became an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. Sandburg was recognized as a member of the Chicago literary renaissance, which included Ben Hecht, Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, and Edgar Lee Masters. Sandburg became known for his free verse poems celebrating industrial and agricultural America, American geography and landscape, and the American common people. In the 1930s, Sandburg continued his celebration of America with the second part of his Lincoln biography, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939), for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He received a second Pulitzer Prize for his Complete Poems in 1950. Carl Sandburg died in 1967.


I am here safe and sound and getting my bearings. I will update soon. Welcome to Chicago!
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  1. Glad to know you have arrived safely xx

  2. ...and that's my Chicago!!

    What a fantastic way welcome us to your journey, perfect choice.
    Have you ever read Upton Sinclair's "the Jungle"...
    I bet you have. Sandburg's poem brought reminded me of it.


    Have some deep dish pizza for me!!!


  3. Dear Ayak,

    Yes indeed I arrived safe and sound - after an hour flight to Athens from Corfu, then a two and a half hour flight from Athens to Munich and then a nine hour flight from Munich to Chicago!! Yuck! I always forget how LONG this trip really IS!

    It's like childbirth, your brain anesthetizes itself, so you'll forget and do it again- in this case it's so you get back on a dratted plane for your return trip home!

    Dear Cheryl,

    I love this poem- actually I love SO many of his poems, if I didn't control myself I put up a whole bunch of them! (I will probably succumb again before I leave...) I think we're going to out for a beer and a pizza tonite. (my diet is cringing!)

    Yes, I have read Sinclair's book. I found it on my bookshelf last summer and wandered through it again - really wrenching, and immediate and strong writing that nobody does anymore.

    So. I'm getting hungry as my son's due home pretty soon.

    I'll be thinking of you at dinner!

  4. Chicago is one of the famous city of the U.S.A.In this city you can show so many tall buildings.This city is good for business then any other city of the America.

    r4 dsi



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