Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I am the People, the Mob

By Carl Sandburg (1918)

I am the people--the mob--the crowd--the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world's food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history.
The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns.
They die.
And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground.
I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing.
Terrible storms pass over me. I forget.
The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget.
Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have.
And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember.
Then--I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of
yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool--
then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name:
"The People," with any fleck of a sneer in hisvoice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob--the crowd--the mass--will arrive then.

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