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

  • Bronze Star - 2,963 Points Sally Plumb Plumb (5/3/2016 4:42:00 AM)

    Marvellous! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Gold Star - 4,801 Points Curtis Johnson (10/17/2015 10:11:00 PM)

    I sense that Sandburg felt compelled to paint the picture of at least two cities in one. I too once lived there, loved there, laughed there, and learned there before I left there. I am grateful for having given of my life too it. I loved Chicago, and I also feared it, but I also became a man in Chicago. City of contrast, is it not? (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,319 Points Soumita Sarkar (9/6/2015 10:05:00 AM)

    the roads..the sand..the trees..the guilds....the arms..the minds...all come alive here in this city that is no ordinary....alike many on earth...Thanks. (Report) Reply

Read all 10 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
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