Speed by Carl Sandburg, a poem

The silent litany of the workmen goes on –
Speed, speed, we are the makers of speed.
We make the flying, crying motors,
Clutches, brakes, and axles,
Gears, ignitions, accelerators,
Spokes and springs and shock absorbers.
The silent litany of the workmen goes on –
Speed, speed, we are the makers of speed;
Axles, clutches, levers, shovels,
We make signals and lay the way –
Speed, speed.
The trees come down to our tools,
We carve the wood to the wanted shape.
The whining propeller's song in the sky,
The steady drone of the overland truck,
Comes from our hands; us; the makers of speed.
Speed; the turbines crossing the Big Pond,
Every nut and bolt, every bar and screw,
Every fitted and whirring shaft,
They came from us, the makers,
Us, who know how,
Us, the high designers and the automatic feeders,
Us, with heads,
Us, with hands,
Us on the long haul, the short flight,
We are the makers; lay the blame on us –
The makers of speed.

— from Good Morning, America

Contrast the silent litany of the workmen to the noise of the engines they create. The gears, the clutches, the axles, and brakes. And the litany is a repetition of speed - the word.

Then the connection to we. Who is it that makes this thing called speed? The workers are “we” - the makers of speed. We lay the way and make the signals that propel this speed.

To the environment - the trees and the wood carved by our wants into the desired shapes. Something is wrong, something is destroyed by this thirst for speed, by our wants and desires. Drones and whines now fill the world built by us, the makers of speed.

Speed, a colloquialism for meth-amphetamine. It’s a drug now, that we can’t deny or relinquish.

Crossing the Big Pond two new words - “every” and “us”. The point of the stanza - speed is everywhere, inside and outside of us. Us has a spectrum from the high designers to the automatic feeders, the long haul to the short flight.

We’re all encompassed now; we’re all to the blame. And the blame is laid on us - the makers of speed.

Related