Chicago

Original Text: 
Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1916), pp. 3-4. PS 3537 A618C5 1916 ROBA
1      HOG Butcher for the World,
2      Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
3      Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight
4          Handler;
5      Stormy, husky, brawling,
6      City of the Big Shoulders:
7They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
8     have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
9     luring the farm boys.
10And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
11     is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
12     kill again.
13And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
14     faces of women and children I have seen the marks
15     of wanton hunger.
16And having answered so I turn once more to those who
17     sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
18     and say to them:
19Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
20     so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cun-
21     ning.
22Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
23     job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
24     little soft cities;
25Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
26     as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
27      Bareheaded,
28      Shoveling,
29      Wrecking,
30      Planning,
31      Building, breaking, rebuilding,
32Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
33     white teeth,
34Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
35     man laughs,
36Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
37     never lost a battle,
38Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse,
39     and under his ribs the heart of the people,
40         Laughing!
41Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
42     Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
43     Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
44     Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
Publication Start Year: 
1916
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.
Form: