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Under City Stone

Artist: Caryl Yasko

Commissioned by: Unknown

Location: Lake Park and 55th, in Metra Underpass

Medium: Mural

Commentary: Caryl Yasko's fine work has been badly damaged by time and by the city's "graffiti blasters" who often seem to do more harm than good. If you look hard you can see that the work once portrayed working people struggling against the negative influences of city life--pollution, corporate greed and also militarism. Like "Alewives and Mercury Fish" across from it, "Under City Stone" has a harsh message delivered by an artist of some daring.

Almost illegible now among the figures is the text of the poem by James Agee from which the mural gets its name:

Rapid Transit

Squealing under city stone
The millions on the millions run,
Every one a life alone,
Every one a soul undone:

There all the poisons of the heart
Branch and abound like whirling brooks
And there through every useless art
Like spoiled meats on a butcher's hooks

Pour forth upon their frightful kind
The faces of each ruined child:
The wrecked demeanors of the mind
That now is tamed, and once was wild.

— James Agee, 1937

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