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 I 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!
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.
hog - pig
to stack - to place in a pile
husky - robust
to brawl - to fight noisily
to lure - to attract, to tempt
wanton - unrestrained, limitless
to sneer - to show contempt
cunning - clever, sly
slugger - one who strikes, drives, throws violently
1. What comes to your mind if you think of Chicago?
2. Trace the use of animal and human images.
3. What facts are presented about the economic importance of the city?
4. Do you like the city as depicted here?
A parody on above poem, called:
San-Fran-York on the Lake: Chicago by Royko
Hi-Rise for the World
Partygoer, Stacker of Stereo Tapes,
Player with Home Pool Table and the Nation's Jets;
Dapper, slender, filter-tipped,
City of the Big Credit Card:
They tell me you are wicked, and I don't believe them;
For I have seen your painted men tossed in jail every time they try luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked, and I answer: Yes, it is true, but now you steal with the ballpoint pen and contract, and that's no fun.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I join in the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with razor-cut head singing so proud to have a Mustang and a white
turtleneck and reservations for dinner.
Fierce as a poodle with tongue lapping for dog yummies.
Purchasing, discarding, repurchasing,
Under the big restaurant canopy, burgundy sauce
all over his mouth, giggling with white-capped teeth.
Under the terrible burden of Consolidated Monthly
Payments, gilling as a disc jockey giggles,
Chuckling even as a smooth salesman chuckles who
has never lost a sale,
Bragging and chuckling that on his wrist is a
battery-operated watch and under his ribs a moroccan leather belt.
turtleneck - fashionable pullover with collar up the neck
dog yummies - cookies for dogs
canopy - a rooflike covering
consolidated monthly payments - a person owing money to several creditors (bank loans, mortgages etc.)
can consolidate his debts by having a single bank handle all payments
1. What does Royko mean by San-Fran-York?
2. Compare the two poems for formal similarities and differences (number of verses, length, rhythm)
3. Does Royko criticize Sandburg's vision of the city?