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.
– Carl Sandburg (1878–1967)
Chicago was first published in Poetry magazine in 1914,
later published in Chicago Poems, 1916.
Sandburg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1951.
The images you see above are details extracted from an old oil painting I saw on eBay. High bid was 36 dollars. I told the Princess, “The subject matter and execution of that painting make it worth thousands. If it goes for one thousand or less, I'm the new owner. The painting doesn't fit the energy of Engelbrecht House, so I won't have a place to hang it, but I promise you it's worth serious money.”
Evidently, at least 2 other people agreed with me.
The painting sold for $3,319.