January 18, 2021

Pic & Poem of the Week: July 3, 2016


Chicago Skyline

Pic & Poem of the Week
July 3, 2016

For your pleasure and contemplation, I am posting an original photograph and a corresponding poem each week on Sundays. May these offerings help lead us to a deeper place of rest on the Lord’s Day.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

• • •

From “Chicago”

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,

Building, breaking, rebuilding…

Carl Sandburg
From “Chicago”


  1. Robert F says

    In the cathedral
    the sound of the city is
    nowhere to be heard.

  2. I’m a New York boy but I really enjoy the vibe in Chicago. Maybe the Midwest setting accounts for a very nuanced difference that I sense. Maybe a step or half step slower and a little friendlier, at least on the surface. New Yorkers can be some extraordinarily gracious people but the outward persona is caustic and gruff. Not quite as much in Chicago. Now this poem notes it’s hardness as compared th the “little soft cities” but as compared to NY I find it to be a little more welcoming. I’m loosely commenting on the poem, more just my thoughts about Chicago. I’ve been three or four times and do look forward to my next visit whenever that may be.

    • Chicago used to be a much more rough hewn and bare knuckled city. From hog butchering to arm twisting politics to the days of Al Capone and the steel works on the south side, it was considered a cultural backwater by many in the East. It is much more cosmopolitan and cultured these days.

      • That’s my sense of it. Of course every city has its hard edges that will chomp you if you don’t pay attention. I spent a lot of time in my 20’s in some pretty dangerous areas of NY and adopted the appropriate edge. Now I’m settled into the warm naïveté of the suburbs and don’t think I would be quite as adept or well defended in weaving my way through that unforgiving concrete jungle. Where I was challenged by it as a young man I am no longer intrigued. If the Lord has a plan for me I’ll go today but otherwise I keep my distance. That’s why I like that more cultured Chicago and stick to the well worn paths.

      • Christiane says

        ‘City of the Big Shoulders’ . . . . great visual imagery in Sandburg’s poetry, even the SOUND of the words of ‘Chicago’ can be viscerally felt when read aloud . . . . a very American poem, this . . . it pulsates with energy

  3. Desert sky
    Dream beneath a desert sky
    The rivers run but soon run dry
    We need new dreams tonight

  4. Three years in Chicago in the middle sixties, ended up working for the original Mayor Daley as a youth worker. In the middle of the Puerto Rican riots as an “observer’, same with the West Side black riots complete with tanks on the streets and machine gun mounted jeeps, marched with Martin Luther King, observed the answering Norman Lincoln Rockwell Nazi rally, was assigned to the Southside territory of the Blackstone Rangers who reputedly kept their arsenal in the basement of the 63rd Street Episcopal Church, attended meetings in school offices where they had to close the windows to shut out noise of gunfire, always knew where the closest doorway or vehicle you could roll under while walking down the street, was assigned to walk 63rd Street at 2:00 in the morning wearing a suit and tie and very white face, managed to get out of town before the 1968 police riots at the Democratic National Convention. Wouldn’t trade the experience, wouldn’t want to do it over again. Different poem.

  5. Why would contemplating Chicago lead me to a deeper place of rest?

    I do believe you live in an alternate universe, Chaplain Mike.

    • I believe in the significance of places in our lives. Chicago is one of the most important places for me personally. If reading and learning and thinking about one of our great American cities doesn’t interest you, that’s okay. But for me it’s a part of my body, soul, and spirit. I don’t know if you have a place like that, but Chicago is that place for me.

      I don’t think that’s an “alternative universe,” but a recognition of the sacred nature of all of life in this one.

  6. I’ve lived in the suburbs of Chicago for over 20 years. The majority of my life.

    It’s quite fashionable to rip the city these days. Much of it is deserved. There’s no shortage of problems.

    Whenever I leave town though, I usually return with a fresh appreciation of place. It’s home. Grew up here. Got married here. Raising my daughter here. Most of my spiritual journey has taken place here.

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