Chicago

by Carl Sandburg, 1914

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,

"They tell me you are wicked and I believe them"
Watercolor and ink on paper.
15" X 11"

for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.

"For I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys"
Watercolor and ink on paper.
7" X 10"

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.

"I have seen the marks of wanton hunger"
Watercolor and ink on paper.
9" X 12"

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:

"I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city"
Watercolor and ink on paper.
9" X 12"

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning

"Show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive"
Watercolor and ink on paper.
12" X 9"

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,

"Cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness"
Watercolor and ink on paper.
18" X 12"

Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,

"Building, breaking, rebuilding"
Watercolor, ink and carbon on paper.
15.5" X 12.5"

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,

“Under the terrible burden of destiny”
Watercolor, ink, and carbon on paper.
12.5" X 15.5"

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.

“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.”
Watercolor, ink, and marker on paper.
12" X 9"