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I Am the People

Carl Sandburg
Language: English



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 his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob -- the crowd -- the mass -- will arrive then.


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