Uptown Chicago Resources


Graceland (1916)

by Carl Sandburg

Palmer and Bertha Honoré Palmer mausoleum Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, IL.

Potter Palmer and Bertha Honoré Palmer mausoleum, Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. Image © Jeremy Atherton, 2006.

Editor’s Note: Uptown-area resident Carl Sandburg lived at 4646 N. Hermitage, and it was in this house that he penned the famous Chicago Poems, from where this selection is taken. Sandburg was a bit critical of the money wasted on the lavish tombs of Graceland and of their upkeep.

	   
     TOMB of a millionaire,
     A multi-millionaire, ladies and gentlemen,
     Place of the dead where they spend every year
     The usury of twenty-five thousand dollars
     For upkeep and flowers
     To keep fresh the memory of the dead.
     The merchant prince gone to dust
     Commanded in his written will
     Over the signed name of his last testament
     Twenty-five thousand dollars be set aside
     For roses, lilacs, hydrangeas, tulips,
     For perfume and color, sweetness of remembrance
     Around his last long home.

(A hundred cash girls want nickels to go to the movies to-night.
In the back stalls of a hundred saloons, women are at tables
Drinking with men or waiting for men jingling loose
     silver dollars in their pockets.
In a hundred furnished rooms is a girl who sells silk or
     dress goods or leather stuff for six dollars a week wages
And when she pulls on her stockings in the morning she
     is reckless about God and the newspapers and the
     police, the talk of her home town or the name
     people call her.)

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