Carl Sandburg





Psalm of Those Who Go Forth Before Daylight

The policeman buys shoes slow and careful;
the teamster buys gloves slow and careful;
they take care of their feet and hands;
they live on their feet and hands.

The milkman never argues;
he works alone and no one speaks to him;
the city is asleep when he is on the job;
he puts a bottle on six hundred porches and calls it a day’s work;
he climbs two hundred wooden stairways;
two horses are company for him;
he never argues.

The rolling-mill men and the sheet-steel men are brothers of cinders;
they empty cinders out of their shoes after the day’s work;
they ask their wives to fix burnt holes in the knees of their trousers;
their necks and ears are covered with a smut;
they scour their necks and ears;
they are brothers of cinders.