Verse > Carl Sandburg > Chicago Poems
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Chicago Poems.  1916.
 
41. Jack
 
 
JACK was a swarthy, swaggering son-of-a-gun.
He worked thirty years on the railroad, ten hours a day, and his hands were tougher than sole leather.
He married a tough woman and they had eight children and the woman died and the children grew up and went away and wrote the old man every two years.
He died in the poorhouse sitting on a bench in the sun telling reminiscences to other old men whose women were dead and children scattered.
There was joy on his face when he died as there was joy on his face when he lived—he was a swarthy, swaggering son-of-a-gun.        5
 

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