Poetry Corner: I am the People,the Mob

On this day July 30th  in 1971 saw the beginning of the work-in at John Brown’s Clydebank Shipbuilding Yard.

I am the People, the Mob


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

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967)

From The Little Red Library: Poems for Workers 

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