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.
Carl Sandburg - 1878-1967
(Written to be read aloud, if so be, Thanksgiving Day)
I remember here by the fire, In the flickering reds and saffrons, They came in a ramshackle tub, Pilgrims in tall hats, Pilgrims of iron jaws, Drifting by weeks on beaten seas, And the random chapters say They were glad and sang to God. And so Since the iron-jawed men sat down And said, "Thanks, O God," For life and soup and a little less Than a hobo handout to-day, Since gray winds blew gray patterns of sleet on Plymouth Rock, Since the iron-jawed men sang "Thanks, O God," You and I, O Child of the West, Remember more than ever November and the hunter's moon, November and the yellow-spotted hills. And so In the name of the iron-jawed men I will stand up and say yes till the finish is come and gone. God of all broken hearts, empty hands, sleeping soldiers, God of all star-flung beaches of night sky, I and my love-child stand up together to-day and sing: "Thanks, O God."