Saturday, 30 December 2006

Socialist Songbook

February Afternoon

February Afternoon
By Edward Thomas

Men heard this roar of parleying starlings, saw,
A thousand years ago even as now,
Black rooks with white gulls following the plough
So that the first are last until a caw
Commands that last are first again, – a law
Which was of old when one, like me, dreamed how
A thousand years might dust lie on his brow
Yet thus would birds do between hedge and shaw.
Time swims before me, making as a day
A thousand years, while the broad ploughland oak
Roars mill-like and men strike and bear the stroke
Of war as ever, audacious or resigned,
And God still sits aloft in the array
That we have wrought him, stone-deaf and stone-blind.

Edward Thomas, February 1916

Edward Thomas enlisted in July 1915, fought in the First World War, and was killed in the Battle of Arras in 1917. His poems turn repeatedly to rural England, but in a way that indicates the distinctly modern concerns of the early 20th century. February Afternoon was written while he was a Lance Corporal instructing officers at Hare Hall Camp in Essex.

Written in a period of violent change and uncertainty, this poem claims to recognise a timeless quality in the patterns of the “natural world”. Yet at the same time the slightly archaic diction such as “caw” (the sound of a crow or rook) and “shaw” (a copse or thicket, often bordering a field) gives the poem a slightly antiquated tone. The prominence of these words are increased by their position within the “embracing” rhyme of the sonnet’s opening eight-line stanza (the stanza comprises two groups of four lines in which the outer and inner pairs of lines rhyme, rather than, for example, a sequence of four couplets). The recognition of the apparently unchanging habits of birds counterposes the limits of the human lifespan with the much more gradual changes that take place in the surrounding environment.

Within the poem the passage of time is not a simple, measurable phenomenon. Of the poem’s fourteen lines, nine are run-on. The regular rhyme-scheme becomes a more reliable means of gauging the passage of time through the poem than the division of the sonnet into fourteen discrete units of ten syllables. But at the same time, the internal rhyme and half-rhyme brings about an element of disruption that offsets the regularity; as “first” and “last” are repeated on the following line, their final consonant-cluster picked up by “dust” two lines later. Similarly in the closing six-line stanza, where “strike” intervenes between “oak” and “stroke”. There is no longer any certainty as to what will happen next.

Meanwhile, the birds are endowed with human characteristics. The “parleying starlings” are not simply chattering but discussing terms or negotiating, as if at war. The rooks and gulls are regulated by a voice that “Commands”. Military terminology has permeated all aspects of life, even the non-human.

However, this is a process that is not acknowledged; there is no explicit recognition of the way in which human action shapes the world which it seeks to use. The plough is not a timeless and static implement, but a tool, developed for the cultivation of land, that has evolved from the first horse-drawn apparatus to the modern machine. Similarly, the position of hedges is not an arbitrary or ‘natural’ fact, but an economic and often political choice, influenced by the ownership of the land and the methods used to farm it.

The “Time”, then, before which the poem’s speaker stands confounded, is a means of measuring a definite historical progression. Despite the timeless manner in which “men strike and bear the stroke / of war as ever”, there is still change in the ruling classes that control the armies that fight and die within these wars.

Meanwhile, the being with the notional power to change things is constrained to the position given to it by the human consciousness which created it. If God is impotent and unable to respond to human need, the poem indicates our need to find an alternative. Thomas’ poem seems to suggest that freeing God from the constraints which we have imposed is one means of doing this; alternatively, we might recognise that God is no less our construction than the “array / That we have wrought him.”

Josh Robinson

Essay on Langston Hughes,M1

With Chapter on Radical Drama in the Black community

A Man's A Man For A' That

A Man's A Man For A' That
by Rabbie Burns

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit
by Billie Holiday

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Jack Kerouac

The Beats

Pablo Neruda Bio

Jeremy Reed

Reeds' poems about the sixties contained in the book
'Orange Sunshine' are wonderful.


Van Morrisons' Lyrics

Friday, 29 December 2006

101 poems against war review

Cops of the World

Cops of the World
by Phil Ochs

Come, get out of the way, boys
Quick, get out of the way
You’d better watch what you say, boys
Better watch what you say
We’ve rammed in your harbour and tied to your port
And our pistols are hungry and ourtempers are short
So bring your daughters around to the port’
Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys
We’re the Cops of the World
We pick and choose as please, boys
Pick and choose as please
You’d best get down on your knees, boys
Best get down on your knees
We’re hairy and horny and ready to shack
We don’t care if you’re yellow or black
Just take off your clothes and lie down on your back’
Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys…
Our boots are needing a shine, boys
Boots are needing a shine
But our Coca-Cola is fine, boysCoca-Cola is fine
We’ve got to protect all our citizens fair
So we’ll send a battalion for everyone there
And maybe we’ll leave in a couple of years’
Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys…
Dump the reds in a pile, boys
Dump the reds in a pile
You’d better wipe of that smile, boys
Better wipe off that smile
We’ll spit through the streets of the cities we wreck
We’ll find you a leader that you can’t elect
Those treaties we signed were a pain in the neck’
Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys…
Clean the johns with a rag, boys
Clean the johns with a rag
If you like you can use your flag, boys
If you like you can use your flag
We’ve got too much money we’re looking for toys
And guns will be guns and boys will be boys
But we’ll gladly pay for all we destroy’
Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys…
Please stay off of the grass, boys
Please stay off of the grass
Here’s a kick in the ass, boys
Here’s a kick in the ass
We’ll smash down your doors, we don’t bother to knock
We’ve done it before, so why all the shock?
We’re the biggest and toughest kids on the block’
Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys…
When we butchered your son, boys
When we butchered your son
Have a stick of our gum, boys
Have a stick of our bubble-gum
We own half the world, oh say can you see
The name for our profits is democracy
So, like it or not, you will have to be free’
Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys…

Phil Ochs

Stalinism, the folk revival and Bob Dylan

When Dylan changed direction

Did Bob Dylan sell out ?

The Bourgeois blues

The Bourgeois blues
by Huddie Leadbelly

Me and my wife went all over town
And everywhere we went people turned us down
Lord, in a bourgeois town It's a bourgeois town I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around

Home of the brave, land of the free
I don't wanna be mistreated by no bourgeoisie
Lord, in a bourgeois town Uhm, the bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues Gonna spread the news all around

Well, me and my wife we were standing upstairs
We heard the white man say "I don't want no niggers up there"
Lord, in a bourgeois town Uhm, bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues Gonna spread the news all around

Well, them white folks in Washington they know how
To call a colored man a nigger just to see him bow
Lord, it's a bourgeois town Uhm, the bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues Gonna spread the news all around

I tell all the colored folks to listen to me
Don't try to find you no home in Washington, DC
`Cause it's a bourgeois town Uhm, the bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues Gonna spread the news all around

I Believe I'll dust My Broom

I Believe I'll dust My Broom
by Robert Johnston

I'm gointa get up in the mornin
I believe I'll dust my broom
I'm gointa get up in the mornin
I believe I'll dust my broom
Girlfriend the black man you've been lovin
girlfriend can get my room
I'm gonna write a letter
telephone everytown I know
I'm gonna write a letter
telephone every town I know
If I can't find her in West Helena
she must be in East Monroe I know
I don't want no woman
wants every downtown man she meets
I don't want no woman
wants every downtown man she meets
She's a no good dooney
they shouldn't allow her on the street
I believe, I believe I'll go back home
I believe, I believe I'll go back home
You can mistreat me here babe,
but you can't when I'm back home
And I'm gettin up in the mornin
I believe I'll dust my broom
I'm gettin up in the mornin
I believe I'll dust my broom
Girlfriend the black man you been lovin
girlfriend can get my room
I'm gonna call up Chiney
see is my good girl over there
I'm gonna call up China
see is my good girl over there
I can't find her on Phillipine's island
she must be in Ethiopia somewhere

Robert Johnston lyrics

Clash Lyrics

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Ballad of the Landlord

Ballad of the Landlord
by Langston Hughes

My roof has sprung a leak.
Don't you 'member I told you about it
Way last week?

Landlord, landlord,
These steps is broken down.
When you come up yourself
It's a wonder you don't fall down.

Ten bucks you say I owe you?
Ten bucks you say is due?
Well, that's ten bucks more'n I'll pay you
Till you fix this house up new.

What? You gonna get eviction orders?
You gonna cut off my heat?
You gonna take my furniture and
Throw it in the street?

Um-huh! You talking high and mighty.
Talk on-till you get through.
You ain't gonna be able to say a word
If I land my fist on you.

Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He's trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land!

Copper's whistle!
Patrol bell!

Precinct Station.
Iron cell.
Headlines in press:


Langston Hughes

My Bohemian Life

My Bohemian Life (Fantasy)

I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets;
My overcoat too was becoming ideal;
I travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal;
Oh dear me! what marvellous loves I dreamed of!
My only pair of breeches had a big whole in them.–
Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way.
My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear.–
My stars in the sky rustled softly.
And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides
On those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops
Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;
And while, rhyming among the fantastical shadows,
I plucked like the strings of a lyre the elastics
Of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!

As translated by Oliver Bernard: Arthur Rimbaud, Collected Poems (1962)

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Guthrie on The Grapes of Wrath

Seen the pitcher last night, Grapes of Wrath, best cussed pitcher I ever seen.
The Grapes of Wrath, you know is about us pullin' out of Oklahoma and Arkansas, and down south, and a driftin' around over state of California, busted, disgusted, down and out, and a lookin' for work.

Shows you how come us to be that a way. Shows the dam bankers men that broke us and the dust that choked us, and comes right out in plain old English and says what to do about it.
It says you got to get together and have some meetins, and stick together, and raise old billy hell till you get youre job, and get your farm back, and your house and your chickens and your groceries and your clothes, and your money back.

Go to see Grapes of Wrath, pardner, go to see it and don't miss.
You was the star in that picture. Go and see your own self and hear your own words and your own song.

1913 Massacre

1913 Massacre
by Woody Guthrie

Take a trip with me in 1913,
To Calumet, Michigan, in the copper country.
I will take you to a place called Italian Hall,
Where the miners are having their big Christmas ball.

I will take you in a door and up a high stairs,
Singing and dancing is heard everywhere,
I will let you shake hands with the people you see,
And watch the kids dance around the big Christmas tree.

You ask about work and you ask about pay,
They'll tell you they make less than a dollar a day,
Working the copper claims, risking their lives,
So it's fun to spend Christmas with children and wives.

There's talking and laughing and songs in the air,
And the spirit of Christmas is there everywhere,
Before you know it you're friends with us all,
And you're dancing around and around in the hall.

Well a little girl sits down by the Christmas tree lights,
To play the piano so you gotta keep quiet,
To hear all this fun you would not realize,
That the copper boss' thug men are milling outside.

The copper boss' thugs stuck their heads in the door,
One of them yelled and he screamed, "there's a fire,
" A lady she hollered, "there's no such a thing.
Keep on with your party, there's no such thing."

A few people rushed and it was only a few,
"It's just the thugs and the scabs fooling you,"
A man grabbed his daughter and carried her down,
But the thugs held the door and he could not get out.

And then others followed, a hundred or more,
But most everybody remained on the floor,
The gun thugs they laughed at their murderous joke,
While the children were smothered on the stairs by the door.

Such a terrible sight I never did see,
We carried our children back up to their tree,
The scabs outside still laughed at their spree,
And the children that died there were seventy-three.

The piano played a slow funeral tune,
And the town was lit up by a cold Christmas moon,
The parents they cried and the miners they moaned,
"See what your greed for money has done."

What has happened?

From the Brecht Oeuvre
What Has Happened?

The industrialist is having his aeroplane serviced.
The priest is wondering what he said in his sermon
eight weeks ago about tithes.
The generals are putting on civvies and looking like bank clerks.
Public officials are getting friendly.
The policeman points out the way to the man in the cloth cap.
The landlord comes to see whether the water supply is working.
The journalists write the word People with capital letters.
The singers sing at the opera for nothing.
Ships' captains check the food in the crew's galley,
Car owners get in beside their chauffeurs.
Doctors sue the insurance companies.
Scholars show their discoveries and hide their decorations.
Farmers deliver potatoes to the barracks.
The revolution has won its first battle:That's what has happened.

The Weary Blues

The Weary Blues
by Langston Hughes

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man's soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."
Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more--
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied--
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.

Monday, 25 December 2006



a poem by William Blake

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:
How the chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down palace-walls.
But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.

ww2 poetry

Monday, 18 December 2006


A community of radical and anarchist writers united to give critique and feedback of work. And to help build a real life community of inspiring radical cultural action. Based from the Poetry In Revolt website.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Babi Yar

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Babi Yar
No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A drop sheer as a crude gravestone.
I am afraid.
Today I am as old in years
as all the Jewish people.
Now I seem to be
a Jew.
Here I plod through ancient Egypt.
Here I perish crucified, on the cross,
and to this day I bear the scars of nails.
I seem to be
The Philistine
is both informer and judge.
I am behind bars.
Beset on every side.
spat on,
Squealing, dainty ladies in flounced Brussels lace
stick their parasols into my face.
I seem to be then
a young boy in Byelostok.
Blood runs, spilling over the floors.
The barroom rabble-rousers
give off a stench of vodka and onion.
A boot kicks me aside, helpless.
In vain I plead with these pogrom bullies.
While they jeer and shout,
"Beat the Yids. Save Russia!"
some grain-marketeer beats up my mother.
0 my Russian people!
I know
are international to the core.
But those with unclean hands
have often made a jingle of your purest name.
I know the goodness of my land.
How vile these anti-Semites-
without a qualm
they pompously called themselves
the Union of the Russian People!
I seem to be
Anne Frank
as a branch in April.
And I love.
And have no need of phrases.
My need
is that we gaze into each other.
How little we can see
or smell!
We are denied the leaves,
we are denied the sky.
Yet we can do so much --
embrace each other in a darkened room.
They're coming here?
Be not afraid. Those are the booming
sounds of spring:
spring is coming here.
Come then to me.
Quick, give me your lips.
Are they smashing down the door?
No, it's the ice breaking ...
The wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar.
The trees look ominous,
like judges.
Here all things scream silently,
and, baring my head,
slowly I feel myself
turning gray.
And I myself
am one massive, soundless scream
above the thousand thousand buried here.
I am
each old man
here shot dead.
I am
every child
here shot dead.
Nothing in me
shall ever forget!
The "Internationale," let it
when the last anti-Semite on earth
is buried forever.
In my blood there is no Jewish blood.
In their callous rage, all anti-Semites
must hate me now as a Jew.
For that reason
I am a true Russian!

Monday, 11 December 2006



As yet unseen beautiful green countryside surrounds
The razor wired camp that is entered once only
From cities all over Europe

Sealed Boxcars are flung open in the dark
As human cattle spill out
Terrified into driving searchlight lit rain

Freezing cold breaths emit hateful strange words
as black alsatian dogs
straining on leashes
Bark repeatedly while biting on limbs

I am rifle-butted in the arm into a left queue
as the surviving old, infirm and children
get herded rightwards roughly brutally murderously

They are never see again

We are ordered to stop outside a hut
and terrorised into showers crying
howling, shaking , avoiding eyes and blows
as a man gets beaten for walking too slowly

Cold pressure-less showers come on
amidst howls ,crying ,wimpering, shouts
Green ,pink, yellow and red triangled rags
get tossed at us before we are clean

as we are shunted towards a wooden hut
and ordered inside where we momentarily stop-
Human skeletons ashen and gaunt
stare at us from blank emotionless faces
three abreast on each filthy mattress

Urine, shit, vomit, death and fear odours
mix with cold breaths, coughs, groans-
a skin covered skeleton rocks violently back and forth
in the corner

“I must sleep
is sleep possible here ?

“Do I dare sleep here” ?

Dozing dreaming

the dream words mimicking
the sound of the new train arriving
on tracks into the camp

A man gets denounced in the night
in exchange for a promise of food

Whispered rumours
Whispered deals
People pretending to sleep

Truck engines start up close by
and move off their engine noises
getting fainter and fainter

3.30 am lights go on in the dark
Raus ! Raus ! Raus !
The skeletons fumble stagger
outside into a searchlight beam
of light directing us to a square
for roll call

A man is taken aside
and beaten in full view
as numbers are called out
and names get ticked off
by sadistic number-obsessed
black -uniformed guards

We are ordered to begin trudging
towards the well sign-posted quarry
as Beethovens’ Sonata surreally crackles out
from camp speakers

The icy snow gradually turns to mud
as 60lb bags of bones work in the dark
lifting rocks with bear hands

“I must eat, I must eat”

A man working next to me whispers-
“You are a political, like me
They hate us , but not as much as the Jews-

Its possible for us to survive here but you must
learn the ways of the camp fast”

“Never argue with them , never look them in the eye
Eat everything no matter how disgusting it is
Each spoonful is another day alive.
Just pray you don’t pass blood- that means death”

“When do we eat”?

“After work” .

“Be servile and try and make yourself
useful to them in some way
or you will be selected”

“Resistance is pointless here”.

We trudge back in the snow
barely able to walk


with nothing to look forward to
observed closely by hate -fuelled

A shot rings out and a woman
some way ahead of me slumps
to the ground but no one helps her
I look at my new advisor
who quickly shakes his head
at me “save yourself” written
all over his white face

helping means death here

A man is shot in the leg from
the same watchtower and falls
clutching at his wound
he pulls himself along trying
to reach the cover of a wooden hut
another shot rings out missing him
by a couple of feet

“He’s going to make it”
“He’s going to make it”

“A few more yards- keep going, keep bloody going”

Another shot whizzes through the air-
his head bursts open and
blood pours out on to pinkening

“He is lucky-
the injured become the subject of jests and ridicule
here. He would have been ritually
humiliated and then selected by the Nazis
because he could no longer work”

“Now, at least, he’s out of it”.

“What ,-what are those huts for ?
The first is a brothel for the Kapos
The better looking women are
taken there for their pleasure
but it does not save them

The one that looks like a hospital-
that’s where these brutes experiment
on us. The big corporations pay the
camps for experiments, chemical tests
needless amputations”

There are rumours that they try to
make soap from the dead bodies,
paper from skin,
fertilisers from bones

IG Farben and the other corporations
are interested in the
slave labour and products

“We must try and escape”

“Escape means death”
we are too weak-
It is wilderness for miles”

“But we’re almost certain
to die anyway, and every
day we get weaker and less
able to resist”

“The politicals meet at the Latrines
after lights out but count me out -
You should try and stay alive
I must go now.”

I leave to meet the other politicals
at Midnight feigning dysentry
but get met there instead
by a Kapo, some SS and my
new found friend

Perhaps promised a crust of bread
or a bowl of soup for betraying me
It matters not

A group of duped politicals
gets taken
Past pits of dead bodies
Past torture cages
Past hospital facades
To wooden huts that look
Just like all other huts
except for the human scratched
walls and the sounds and smells of
Gas canisters
And panic
And praying
And urine
And shitting
And fighting
And screaming
And trampling
And bones breaking
And scratching
And crying
And whaling
And eyes watching
And fatigue
And memories

And…..losing consciousness

And soon please-No more pain.

Peter Burton December 2006

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Performance poetry for New Orleans victims

Reports from the Paris Commune 1

Great poem about Commodity Fetishism

41 shots

"41 shots"

Sounds and feelings
of uninhibited hard travellin'
alienated marginalised youth livin fast
goin nowhere

cars and girls

give way to thoughts of neglect
of girlfriends feelings
working class people making ends meet amidst


in emotionally centred lyrics

crossing Americas' racial borders
never reachin' golden mixed -race end


multifaceted divided self
alternating expected and darker
activities without guilt

ambivalence self- doubt
the artist as magician
conjuring and struggling against
the horror of a wasted life

deconstructiing societys' masks
while politicians
whistle without listening

Johnny 99
lonesome outlaws in
acoustic blues solo sets
evolves into
commercial Kovic representatiion
and howls of depair
for Americas' vanquished soul

Peter Burton December 2006

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Spanish Civil War Song

Spanish Civil War Song

By Phil Ochs
Oh, say do you remember 25 years ago,
They fought the fascist army, they fought the fascist foe?
Do you remember Franco, Hitler's old ally?
He butchered Spain's democracy,half a million free men died.
Ai, ai, ai, ai--
Did you wonder why?
Did you ever pause and cry?
And don't forget the churches and the sad role that they played:
They crucified their people and worked the devil's trade;
But now the wounds are healing with the passing of time,
So we send them planes and rifles and recognize their crime.
Ai, ai, ai, ai--
Did you wonder why?
Did you ever pause and cry?
So spend your tourist dollars and turn your heads away.
Forget about the slaughter, it's the price we all must pay,
For now the world's in struggle, to win we all must bend:
So dim the light in Freedom's soul: sleep well tonight, my friend.
Ai, ai, ai, ai--
Did you wonder why?
Did you ever pause and cry?

Article on Blake Tradition

Monday, 4 December 2006

Journal of Socialist, Realist and Humanist poetry

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ was a man that traveled through this land;
A carpenter, true and brave;
Said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor",
So they laid Jesus Christ in
His grave.
Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand;
Carpenter true and brave;
And a dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Laid Jesus Christ in
His grave.
The people of the land took Jesus by the hand
They followed
Him far and wide;
"I come not to bring you peace, but a sword",
So they killed Jesus Christ on the sly.
He went to the sick, he went to the poor;
And he went to the hungry and the lame;
Said that the poor would one day win this world
And so they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.
They nailed
Him there to die on a cross in the sky,
In the lightning, the thunder and the rain.
Judas Iscariot committed suicide
When they laid poor Jesus Christ in his grave.
One day Jesus stopped at a rich man's door.
"What must I do to be saved?"
"You must take all your goods and give it to the poor",
And so they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.
They nailed
Him there to die on a cross in the sky,
In the lightning, the thunder and the rain.
Judas Iscariot committed suicide
When they laid poor Jesus Christ in his grave.
When the love of the poor shall one day turn to hate,
When the patience of the workers gives away;
"Would be better for you rich if you never had been born",
So they laid Jesus Christ in
His grave.
This song was written in New York City,
Of rich man, preachers, and slaves;
Yes, if Jesus was to preach like
He preached in Galillee [sic],
They would lay Jesus Christ in
His grave.

Woody Guthrie

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Tollcross Park Writers Group

Glasgow-based writers ' group

Musee des Beaux arts

Musee des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or
just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen,
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the
torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.




I put out my hand and plucked a rose,
A red satin rose with a velvet scent,
And chaliced its loveliness in reverent palms,
Knowing that it was perfect.

Then, because I could not make the rose,
And because I could not paint the rose,
Nor carve it, nor mould it,
Nor even draw its beauty in my words,
I slowly closed my fingers over it
And crushed it.

Ruth Ellison