CHICAGO - Charles Hamilton Sorley Poems


Poems » charles hamilton sorley » 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,
                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 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.