All human achievements are the fruit of man’s labour. The poem is a tribute to people - the seed ground of progress.
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.
Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967) - American poet, historian, novelist and folklorist is called
The Singing Bard. In his work Sandburg gives voice to the people of the American Midwest. As a central figure in the Chicago Renaissance he played a significant role in the developments in poetry in the 20th century.