Wednesday, April 12, 2006


If you live in the Chicago area, you are acquainted with my friend here, Mr. Canadian Goose. Right now, they are migrating their way through Chicago and enjoying rest stops at such places as parks, the Dominicks parking lot, streets — anywhere.

I've been feeling a lot of affinity for Chicagoland recently, especially since Dave and I are going to stay here for school, and I'm going to get to head downtown every day on the train and walk around the City of Big Shoulders, and it's going to be amazing.

Speaking of which, TWICE this morning during my commute, I came across references to Carl Sandburg's great poem — "Chicago," which is a very unusual thing, even here. That's a good enough excuse for me to reproduce it here, so enjoy!

"Chicago" by Carl Sandburg

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.

"I don't mean to toot my own horn, but if Jesus Christ lived in Chicago today, and he had come to me with $5,000, let's just say things would have turned out differently." - Billy Flynn in "Chicago" the musical/movie


jpsquared said...

OMG, the Canadian geese are everywhere! Annie got too close to one once last year, it hissed at her, and she ran away! I would like them more if they'd stop attacking my dog and crapping all over the sidewalk I walk her on.

Bec said...

Awww you make me miss the Windy City! But not the Canadian Geese...we have tourist who invade DC in the spring....they don't poop on the sidewalk, but otherwise they are just as pesky.

Anonymous said...

BTW, its a Canada Goose, they're not Canadians...

Val S. said...

I believe Julie and I used the words "Canadian Goose" in the sense that the geese are native to Canada. You know, the whole adjective vs. noun thing. But thank you, random anonymous goose poster, whoever you are!

jpsquared said...

Ah, it's amazing the gall that some people have under the veil of anonymity!

Chellequa said...

Well, who the hell cares, canada goose, canadian goose, it gets the point across anyhow. If you're going to correct someone on a blog, you better have the guts to own up to who you are. Also, it's by the way, not BTW!