Carl Sandburg





Chicago

    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.