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Read more poems by Carl Sandburg: Carl Sandburg Poems at Poetry X.

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Fellow Citizens

Carl Sandburg

I drank musty ale at the Illinois Athletic Club with
     the millionaire manufacturer of Green River butter
     one night
And his face had the shining light of an old-time Quaker,
     he spoke of a beautiful daughter, and I knew he had
     a peace and a happiness up his sleeve somewhere.
Then I heard Jim Kirch make a speech to the Advertising
     Association on the trade resources of South America.
And the way he lighted a three-for-a-nickel stogie and
     cocked it at an angle regardless of the manners of
     our best people,
I knew he had a clutch on a real happiness even though
     some of the reporters on his newspaper say he is
     the living double of Jack London's Sea Wolf.
In the mayor's office the mayor himself told me he was
     happy though it is a hard job to satisfy all the office-
     seekers and eat all the dinners he is asked to eat.
Down in Gilpin Place, near Hull House, was a man with
     his jaw wrapped for a bad toothache,
And he had it all over the butter millionaire, Jim Kirch
     and the mayor when it came to happiness.
He is a maker of accordions and guitars and not only
     makes them from start to finish, but plays them
     after he makes them.
And he had a guitar of mahogany with a walnut bottom
     he offered for seven dollars and a half if I wanted it,
And another just like it, only smaller, for six dollars,
     though he never mentioned the price till I asked him,
And he stated the price in a sorry way, as though the
     music and the make of an instrument count for a
     million times more than the price in money.
I thought he had a real soul and knew a lot about God.
There was light in his eyes of one who has conquered
     sorrow in so far as sorrow is conquerable or worth
     conquering.
Anyway he is the only Chicago citizen I was jealous of
     that day.
He played a dance they play in some parts of Italy
     when the harvest of grapes is over and the wine
     presses are ready for work.

Added: 16 Jun 2002 | Last Read: 22 Jan 2018 6:34 PM | Viewed: 4111 times

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