Chicago Poems - Poems For Chicago

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Chicago - Poem 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,

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.


Comments about Chicago by Carl Sandburg

  • Gold Star - 33,436 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (10/20/2014 9:06:00 AM)

    May be it was those times the experiences of the poet about the city which is now the world's most developed city it is known. A great poem. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rookie Alice In Wonderland (9/14/2009 9:10:00 PM)

    Right on Andrew, Chicago will never stop! This poem is great. It is a very real picture of what the city was like at that time. Yes, there was prostitution and crime and poverty and it was ugly but it was Carl Sandburgs home. Chicago is a beautiful city full of people who are proud to live there. Full of bragging arrogant people who are proud of what their city can do. So many great jobs are available in Chicago: Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads, etc. Very industrial jobs. So Chicago has jobs available and the ability to reinvent itself. Who wouldn't want to be a part of this city? (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,723 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (5/15/2009 10:16:00 AM)

    Carl Sandburg wrote about the realities of life and his words breathe in his poetry.He leaves a view of a world that still holds on and yet lets go into a trip of the imagination.He is one of our great poets. (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

Poems About Chicago

  1. 1. Chicago , Carl Sandburg
  2. 2. Chicago Weather , Eugene Field
  3. 3. Chicago , John Greenleaf Whittier
  4. 4. A Garden In Chicago , Karl Shapiro
  5. 5. South State Street: Chicago , Maxwell Bodenheim
  6. 6. Chicago Castanets , George Ade
  7. 7. Hymn For The Fair At Chicago , Oliver Wendell Holmes
  8. 8. Poem (Chicago) , Bill Knott
  9. 9. Welcome To The Chicago Commercial Club , Oliver Wendell Holmes
  10. 10. Chicago Poet , Carl Sandburg
  11. 11. Chicago Stock Exchange , Maria Frances Cecilia Cowper
  12. 12. Easter Monday [excerpt] , Ted Berrigan
  13. 13. The Chicago Poem , Jerome Rothenberg
  14. 14. The Great Chicago Fire , Julia Ann Moore
  15. 15. Chicago And December , William Simone Di Piero
  16. 16. Steel-Mills: South Chicago , Maxwell Bodenheim
  17. 17. The Burning Of Chicago , Kate Seymour Maclean
  18. 18. The Belugas Of Chicago , Louise Norman
  19. 19. Chicago Exposition Ode , Mary Weston Fordham
  20. 20. A Moving Chicago's Seasoned Memories , Derek Johnson
  21. 21. In Chicago , John Bannister Tabb
  22. 22. A Poem For Myself , Etheridge Knight
  23. 23. For Selma , Langston Hughes
  24. 24. Of Him I Love Day And Night , Walt Whitman
  25. 25. I Like Canadians , Ernest Hemingway
  26. 26. Epilogue , Ezra Pound
  27. 27. Changing Of The Seasons , Shel Silverstein
  28. 28. Visiting A Dead Man On A Summer Day , Marge Piercy
  29. 29. Fear Is What Quickens Me , James Arlington Wright
  30. 30. Aner Clute , Edgar Lee Masters
  31. 31. Mediums , Walt Whitman
  32. 32. Mamie , Carl Sandburg
  33. 33. Barney Hainsfeather , Edgar Lee Masters
  34. 34. Sunset From Omaha Hotel Window , Carl Sandburg
  35. 35. A Power-Plant , Harriet Monroe
  36. 36. Siren , Louise Gluck
  37. 37. Dora Williams , Edgar Lee Masters
  38. 38. John Horace Burleson , Edgar Lee Masters
  39. 39. Picnic Boat , Carl Sandburg
  40. 40. 38th Parallel , Michael Pruchnicki
  41. 41. (poem) (Chicago) (The Were-Age) , Bill Knott
  42. 42. Carl Hamblin , Edgar Lee Masters
  43. 43. John Hancock Otis , Edgar Lee Masters
  44. 44. A Writing About Obama- Sixth Day Install.. , Lonnie Hicks
  45. 45. Off The Turnpike , Amy Lowell
  46. 46. Lambert Hutchins , Edgar Lee Masters
  47. 47. Histrionics , Lola Ridge
  48. 48. Tough Streets Of Chicago , rico avila
  49. 49. Box Car Harry , Lonnie Hicks
  50. 50. Is This The War Of The Worlds? Or How To.. , Joe Rosochacki
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