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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

  • 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

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  • Rookie TDogg (8/10/2018 10:43:00 AM)

    Dude Bro is a Chicagoan! ! (Report) Reply

  • 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

Read all 19 comments »

Poems About Chicago

  1. 1. Chicago , Carl Sandburg
  2. 2. The Great Chicago Fire , Julia Ann Moore
  3. 3. Chicago Zen , A. K. Ramanujan
  4. 4. Chicago Poet , Carl Sandburg
  5. 5. Chicago , John Greenleaf Whittier
  6. 6. Chicago Weather , Eugene Field
  7. 7. Welcome To The Chicago Commercial Club , Oliver Wendell Holmes
  8. 8. Poem (Chicago) , Bill Knott
  9. 9. 3-Year Old Among 13 Shot In Sanford Fla... , Luke Easter
  10. 10. Six Poems For Poetry Chicago , Jack Spicer
  11. 11. Hymn For The Fair At Chicago , Oliver Wendell Holmes
  12. 12. Chicago Dog , Ima Ryma
  13. 13. Chicago , Morgan Michaels
  14. 14. Chicago Samba , Aldo Kraas
  15. 15. Southside Chicago Blues , George Hunter
  16. 16. (poem) (Chicago) (The Were-Age) , Bill Knott
  17. 17. A Garden In Chicago , Karl Shapiro
  18. 18. The Chicago Poem , Jerome Rothenberg
  19. 19. Near North Side: Chicago , Donal Mahoney
  20. 20. On The Road To Chicago , Donal Mahoney
  21. 21. South State Street: Chicago , Maxwell Bodenheim
  22. 22. Chicago Fire , Kurt Kacich
  23. 23. Chicago [1920's Slang] , R.K. Cowles
  24. 24. Chick-Fil-A Vs. Chicago , Luke Easter
  25. 25. Hadiya Pendleton, Chicago Honor Student,.. , Luke Easter
  26. 26. ##38 (Vivekananda) Arrival At Chicago , Rajaram Ramachandran
  27. 27. Travel Haiku - Millennium Park (Chicago) , john tiong chunghoo
  28. 28. Chicago Blues , Aldo Kraas
  29. 29. Chicago Botanic Gardens , Michael Pruchnicki
  30. 30. Chicago In February , Michael Pruchnicki
  31. 31. Dublin & Chicago , Michael Pruchnicki
  32. 32. Travel Haiku - Chicago, My Other Paris , john tiong chunghoo
  33. 33. Chicago Art Institute , Michael Pruchnicki
  34. 34. New York To Chicago: An Email Alert , Donal Mahoney
  35. 35. Chicago Teachers Union To March On Washi.. , Luke Easter
  36. 36. Newberry Library, Chicago , Donal Mahoney
  37. 37. Chicago - Of Stinky Roots , Ima Ryma
  38. 38. Chicago - 'the Clock Mender' , Ima Ryma
  39. 39. Chicago Cubs.. The Last Are First , Saiom Shriver
  40. 40. Chicago. , Michael Walker
  41. 41. Chicago - Barn Burner , Ima Ryma
  42. 42. Chicago - Skyscraper First , Ima Ryma
  43. 43. Chicago - The Stock Yards , Ima Ryma
  44. 44. Chicago - The World's Fair's End , Ima Ryma
  45. 45. Chicago - The Loop , Ima Ryma
  46. 46. Chicago - Playboy Mansion , Ima Ryma
  47. 47. Chicago - Wrigley Field , Ima Ryma
  48. 48. Chicago - O'hare , Ima Ryma
  49. 49. Laquan Mcdonald Shot 16 Times By Chicago.. , Saiom Shriver
  50. 50. Chicago - Marina City Towers , Ima Ryma
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