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Carl Sandburg: Chicago

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Carl Sandburg: Chicago




     Hog Butcher for the World,

     Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

     Player with Railroads and the Nation's Feight 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 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 ae 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 and 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.