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American Poem

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23rd. Oct, 2009 | 07:18 am

I AM the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.

Do you know that all the great work of this world is
done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the
world's food & clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons
come from me & the Lincolns. They die. &
then I send forth more Napoleons & 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 & wasted.
I forget. Everything but Death comes to me &
makes me work & give up what I have. & I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself & 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 & 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 his voice or any far off smile of derision.

The mob—The crowd—The mass—will arrive then.

                        — Carl Sandburg
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