Stranger Fruit

Friday Poem (1214)

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 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