Carl Sandburg
I am the People, the Mob (1916)

 

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.

5

I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons

 

come from me and the 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.

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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.

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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

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sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.

 

The mob--the crowd--the mass--will arrive then.