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 - 57,324 Points Michael Walker (10/28/2019 9:21:00 PM)

    While I am not taken with 'Hog Butcher for the World', I do like 'Freight Handler to the Nation'.
    His city has rough edges and serious crimes are committed there, but he is nevertheless proud of Chicago,
    which is better than 'the/ little soft cities'. Those cities would be safer but boring, he implies.
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie Elizabeth (8/19/2018 1:39:00 AM)

    Dont blame a city cos they kill their own . Gangsters then and gang members now. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Rookie Elizabeth (8/19/2018 1:36:00 AM)

    Marissa, no stories hidden in this poem It is honestly and brutally truthfull, like chicago. (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie Marissa (8/17/2018 10:56:00 PM)

    i have been doing a class and i needed to review this poem at first I thought it was really boring and now I realize that to understand this poem is to really think about all of the stories that are hidden in the poem. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rookie TDogg (8/10/2018 10:43:00 AM)

    Dude Bro is a Chicagoan! ! (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie Paul Starbuck (4/3/2018 7:18:00 PM)

    Sandburg is the quintessential American poet. No Englishman, however talented, could have written Chicago. Despite Sandburg's list of Chicago's deficits his talent ensures that we, with him, appreciate the city. (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rookie Cory Henderson (12/6/2017 9:04:00 AM)

    This sucks i heard better poems (Report) Reply

    Rookie You Suck (5/9/2019 7:23:00 PM)

    i is supposed to be I

    | Delete this reply
    Rookie Dude Bro (3/30/2018 1:39:00 PM)

    You suck you can't even criticize a poem properly.

    | Delete this reply
    3 person liked.
    19 person did not like.
  • Rookie Cory Henderson (12/6/2017 9:00:00 AM)

    This sucks I have heard better poems (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    16 person did not like.
  • Rookie Elisabeth Potts (11/11/2017 5:49:00 PM)

    This poem almost vibrates off the page! (Report) Reply

    9 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 0 Points Destiny Gray (10/19/2017 12:52:00 AM)

    so is this not a book bc I have to read it and I'm trying to figure out if its a book.. (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
Read all 23 comments »
Chicago Poems
  1. 1. Chicago
    Carl Sandburg
  2. 2. Chicago Poet
    Carl Sandburg
  3. 3. A Garden In Chicago
    Karl Shapiro
  4. 4. Chicago
    John Greenleaf Whittier
  5. 5. Chicago Weather
    Eugene Field
  6. 6. Chicago Zen
    A. K. Ramanujan
  7. 7. Welcome To The Chicago Commercial Club
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
  8. 8. (poem) (Chicago) (The Were-Age)
    Bill Knott
  9. 9. Hymn For The Fair At Chicago
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
  10. 10. Tough Streets Of Chicago
    rico avila
  11. 11. Chicago Streets
    Delilah Miller
  12. 12. Chicago Samba
    Aldo Kraas
  13. 13. Chicago Blues
    Aldo Kraas
  14. 14. The Great Chicago Fire
    Julia Ann Moore
  15. 15. Poem (Chicago)
    Bill Knott
  16. 16. Chicago - O'hare
    Ima Ryma
  17. 17. Trump-Tower In Chicago!
    Edward Kofi Louis
  18. 18. Chicago Bean...Not Much Poetry This Exce..
    me poet yeps poet
  19. 19. 3-Year Old Among 13 Shot In Sanford Fla...
    Luke Easter
  20. 20. Chicago Sestina
    Brian Maloney
  21. 21. Chicago Dog
    Ima Ryma
  22. 22. Chicago Was Once
    Michael Hopkins
  23. 23. Chicago
    Morgan Michaels
  24. 24. The Chicago Poem
    Jerome Rothenberg
  25. 25. A Filipino Writes From Chicago
    RIC BASTASA
  26. 26. South State Street: Chicago
    Maxwell Bodenheim
  27. 27. Chicago Fire
    Kurt Kacich
  28. 28. Chicago [1920's Slang]
    R.K. Cowles
  29. 29. Chick-Fil-A Vs. Chicago
    Luke Easter
  30. 30. Notes From Chicago... An Open Book.
    RIC BASTASA
  31. 31. Their Golden Wedding Anniversarry (For A..
    RIC BASTASA
  32. 32. Chicago Moon
    RIC BASTASA
  33. 33. My Friend From Chicago Says Bless You
    RIC BASTASA
  34. 34. My Friend From Chicago Says Bless You (R..
    RIC BASTASA
  35. 35. To Mawe In Chicago This Winter
    RIC BASTASA
  36. 36. Travel Haiku - Chicago, My Other Paris
    john tiong chunghoo
  37. 37. ##38 (Vivekananda) Arrival At Chicago
    Rajaram Ramachandran
  38. 38. A Friend In Chicago Is In Relationship
    RIC BASTASA
  39. 39. To A Friend Somewhere In Chicago
    RIC BASTASA
  40. 40. Chicago Botanic Gardens
    Michael Pruchnicki
  41. 41. Chicago In February
    Michael Pruchnicki
  42. 42. Dublin & Chicago
    Michael Pruchnicki
  43. 43. Dear Mama, A Poem From A Son In Chicago
    RIC BASTASA
  44. 44. Travel Haiku - Millennium Park (Chicago)
    john tiong chunghoo
  45. 45. A Filipino Fed Up In Chicago
    RIC BASTASA
  46. 46. Somewhere In Chicago
    RIC BASTASA
  47. 47. Chicago Art Institute
    Michael Pruchnicki
  48. 48. Hadiya Pendleton, Chicago Honor Student,..
    Luke Easter
  49. 49. Chicago Teachers Union To March On Washi..
    Luke Easter
  50. 50. To A Friend In Chicago
    RIC BASTASA

New Chicago Poems

  1. Chicago Barbecue, Nick krakana
  2. Chicago Dreams (Song), Bijay Kant Dubey
  3. Chicago Is Just Like The Modern Antarctica, Noel Taylor
  4. [the] Russian Mafia: We Worship You, Lor.., Joshua Aaron Guillory
  5. Johnny Chicago, Pierre Rausch
  6. Ageing In America, Sukrita Paul Kumar
  7. Visiting a dead man on a summer day, Marge Piercy
  8. Don't Go To Chicago, Kelsey Allaman
  9. Call A Priest, Donal Mahoney
  10. Sending You This Moment Of Daydream, NHIEN NGUYEN MD

Chicago Poems

  1. Chicago Poet

    I saluted a nobody. I saw him in a looking-glass. He smiled--so did I. He crumpled the skin on his forehead, frowning--so did I. Everything I did he did. I said, "Hello, I know you." And I was a liar to say so. Ah, this. looking-glass man! Liar, fool, dreamer, play-actor, Soldier, dusty drinker of dust-- Ah! he will go with me Down the dark stairway When nobody else is looking, When everybody else is gone. He locks his elbow in mine, I lose all--but not him.

  2. A Garden In Chicago

    In the mid-city, under an oiled sky, I lay in a garden of such dusky green It seemed the dregs of the imagination. Hedged round by elegant spears of iron fence My face became a moon to absent suns. A low heat beat upon my reading face; There rose no roses in that gritty place But blue-gray lilacs hung their tassels out. Hard zinnias and ugly marigolds And one sweet statue of a child stood by. A gutter of poetry flowed outside the yard, Making me think I was a bird of prose; For overhead, bagged in a golden cloud, There hung the fatted souls of animals, Wile at my eyes bright dots of butterflies Turned off and on like distant neon signs. Assuming that this garden still exists, One ancient lady patrols the zinnias (She looks like George Washington crossing the Delaware), The janitor wanders to the iron rail, The traffic mounts bombastically out there, And across the street in a pitch-black bar With midnight mirrors, the professional Takes her first whiskey of the afternoon-- Ah! It is like a breath of country air.

  3. Chicago Weather

    To-day, fair Thisbe, winsome girl! Strays o'er the meads where daisies blow, Or, ling'ring where the brooklets purl, Laves in the cool, refreshing flow. To-morrow, Thisbe, with a host Of amorous suitors in her train, Comes like a goddess forth to coast Or skate upon the frozen main. To-day, sweet posies mark her track, While birds sing gayly in the trees; To-morrow morn, her sealskin sack Defies the piping polar breeze. So Doris is to-day enthused By Thisbe's soft, responsive sighs, And on the morrow is confused By Thisbe's cold, repellent eyes.

  4. Chicago

    Men said at vespers: 'All is well!' In one wild night the city fell; Fell shrines of prayer and marts of gain Before the fiery hurricane. On threescore spires had sunset shone, Where ghastly sunrise looked on none. Men clasped each other's hands, and said 'The City of the West is dead!' Brave hearts who fought, in slow retreat, The fiends of fire from street to street, Turned, powerless, to the blinding glare, The dumb defiance of despair. A sudden impulse thrilled each wire That signalled round that sea of fire; Swift words of cheer, warm heart-throbs came; In tears of pity died the flame! From East, from West, from South and North, The messages of hope shot forth, And, underneath the severing wave, The world, full-handed, reached to save. Fair seemed the old; but fairer still The new, the dreary void shall fill With dearer homes than those o'erthrown, For love shall lay each corner-stone. Rise, stricken city! from thee throw The ashen sackcloth of thy woe; And build, as to Amphion's strain, To songs of cheer thy walls again! How shrivelled in thy hot distress The primal sin of selfishness! How instant rose, to take thy part, The angel in the human heart! Ah! not in vain the flames that tossed Above thy dreadful holocaust; The Christ again has preached through thee The Gospel of Humanity! Then lift once more thy towers on high, And fret with spires the western sky, To tell that God is yet with us, And love is still miraculous!

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