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Carl Sandburg Poems
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Boes by Carl Sandburg
I WAITED today for a freight train to pass.
Cattle cars with steers butting their horns against the
bars, went by.
And a half a dozen hoboes stood on bumpers between
cars.
Well, the cattle are respectable, I thought.
Every steer has its transportation paid for by the farmer
sending it to market,
While the hoboes are law-breakers in riding a railroad
train without a ticket.
It reminded me of ten days I spent in the Allegheny
County jail in Pittsburgh.
I got ten days even though I was a veteran of the
Spanish-American war.
Cooped in the same cell with me was an old man, a
bricklayer and a booze-fighter.
But it just happened he, too, was a veteran soldier, and
he had fought to preserve the Union and free the
niggers.
We were three in all, the other being a Lithuanian who
got drunk on pay day at the steel works and got to
fighting a policeman;
All the clothes he had was a shirt, pants and shoes--
somebody got his hat and coat and what money he
had left over when he got drunk.
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