'Boes

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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Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg was an American writer and editor best known for poetry. more…

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"'Boes" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 6 Apr. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/4626/'boes>.

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