Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

A Scots Lament fur her American Fellows

By Lorna Wallace  (Oan their election of a tangerine gabshite walloper).

America, aw whit ye dain?!
How could ye choose a clueless wain
Ti lead yir country? Who wid trust
A man sae vile?!
A racist, sexist eedjit
Wi a shite hairstyle?

Yet lo, ye votit (michty me!)
Ti hawn’ this walloper the key
Ti pow’r supreme, ti stert his hateful,
Cruel regime.
A cling ti hope that this is aw
Jist wan bad dream.

But naw, the nightmare has come true,
A curse upon rid, white an’ blue,
An’ those who cast oot Bernie
Must feel sitch regret
Fur thinkin’ Mrs. Clinton
Was a safer bet.

So noo we wait ti see unfold
Division an’ intolerance, cold;
A pois’nous bigotry untold
Since Hitler’s rule
As the free world’s hopes an’ dreams
Lie with this fool.

Alas, complainin’ wullnae change
The fact this diddy has free range
Ti ride roughshod ow’r human beings
That fall outside
The cretinous ideals borne of
His ugly pride.

Awch USA, we feel yir woes
An’ pour oor wee herts oot ti those
Who ken this oarange gabshite isnae
Who they chose,
But jist sit tight; Trump’s cluelessness
Will time expose.

Fur sittin’ there beside Obama
Efter the election drama,
Trump looked like reality
Had finally hit:
Aboot the role of president
He knew Jack shit.

Poutin’, glaikit through this farce,
His mooth wis pursed up like an arse,
His Tangoed coupon glowin’ like
A skelped backside.

Despite all his bravado
Trump looked keen ti hide.

Let’s therefur no despair an’ greet,
Or see this outcome as defeat.

Let’s wait an’ watch this bampot
Flap his hawns an’ squirm
When presidential pressures
Crush him like a worm.

Hawd oan ti values you hold dear,
Don’t let this numpty bring yi fear,
His chants of hatred don’t speak fur
The human race.

Love will endure despite this
Oarange-faced disgrace.

So USA, in ma conclusion,
Know we Scots feel your confusion:

We are also chained ti those
Not of oor choosin’.
Stand firm fur unity will break
Through Trump’s delusion.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A poem - The Respectables

The Song of the Respectables

Respectables are we,
And we fain would have you see
Why we confidently claim to be respected;
In well-ordered homes we dwell,
And discharge our duties well—
Well dressed, well bred, well mannered, well connected.
We hate the common cant
About poverty and want,
And all that is distressing and unhealthy;
Certain cases may be sad,
But the system can't be bad,
If it gives such satisfaction to the wealthy.
As the Times each day we read,
We realize the need
Of more and more repression for the Masses;
And we muse with wondering awe
On the sanctity of Law,
As administered and construed by the Classes.
To us the breath of Change
Is ominous and strange,
And Reform is but a cloak for Revolution;
Our concern is not for self,
Not for property nor pelf,
Oh no, but for the British Constitution:
And our care transcends e'en that,
For in sable coat and hat
We never fail to flock to church each Sunday,
That with renovated zest,
And conscience lulled to rest,
We may yield our hearts to Mammon on the Monday.
So our wealth, which swells apace,
Is the outward sigh of grace,
As property goes step by step with piety:
In the present world we thrive,
Then save our souls alive,
And move for evermore in good society.
Thus on through life we march,
Stiff with decency and starch,
Well bred, well fed, well mannered, well connected—
For Respectables are we,
And you cannot fail to see
Why we confidently claim to be respected.

H. S. S.
The Commonweal,
 May 31, 1890

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dare To Dream


 Fifty years since the dream Martin Luther King shared with a nation
 Of equality for all and an end to discrimination
 As we reflect fifty years later the question we must now ask
 Is what progress have we really made in the half century that’s passed?

 I have a dream of no poverty or deprivation
 An end to prejudice, injustice and discrimination
 No abuse or harassment causing devastation
 Where challenges to these are not met with confrontation

 I have a dream that we’ll rise up in unity
 Act like one strong and determined community
 Live in a world of equal opportunity
 Where progress is anticipated eagerly

 I have a dream of access to jobs and employment
 Where we are assessed on our achievement
 Where those with the power to decide don’t cast judgment
 Based on class or gender or age or skin pigment

 I have a dream that every one of us each and every day
 Will rise up to those blocking us from progressing on our way
 That we’ll expose the hypocrites and end the moral decay
 Be unrelenting in our pursuit of truth, do not just say

 I have a dream that the evil of fascism will be no more
 That peace will come and there’ll be an end to illegal war
 That the pursuit of justice is not blocked by biased law
 And in all we strive for, equality is at the core

 I have a dream that our children will be judged on merit
 Where irrespective of colour or class they’re given credit
 For their skills, ideas and talent, not broken in spirit
 That we create a legacy that they’re proud to inherit

 I have a dream of free access to education
 Where knowledge is not barred due to financial situation
 Where we can build a firm and secure foundation
 For ourselves, our kin and the next generation

 I have a dream of sufficient welfare
 Free and accessible healthcare
 Of a world that’s equal and fair
 Where those who hold the power hear

 I have a dream where we’re free to embrace
 Our colour, gender, sexuality and race
 Where we’re not made to feel out of place
 Because of disability, status or face

 I have a dream where instead of judging by skin
 We live side by side, not like enemies, but kin
 Where faith and hope, not hatred and ignorance, win
 Where we never stop believing or dreaming

 I have a dream that we will always dare
 To aspire to and dream of a better world where
 The quest for liberty outweighs the fear
 Of those who are not brave enough to share
 Our dream


Saturday, June 01, 2013

Beware of rebels who laugh, dance and sing.

"The Song of the Low Classes'

We plough and sow—we're so very, very low
That we delve in the dirty clay,
Till we bless the plain—with the golden grain,
And the vale with the fragrant hay.
Our place we know—we're so very low.
'Tis down at the landlord's feet:
We're not too low—the bread to grow,
But too low the bread to eat.
Down, down we go—we're so very, very low,
To the hell of the deep sunk mines,
But we gather the proudest gems that glow
Where the crown of a despot shines.
And whenever he lacks,—upon our backs
Fresh loads he deigns to lay:
We're far too low to vote the tax,
But not too low to pay.
We're low—we're low—mere rabble, we know,
But at our plastic power
The mould at the lordlings" feet will grow
Into palace and church and tower—-
Then prostrate fall—in the rich man's hall,
And cringe at the rich man's door:
We're not too low to build the wall,
But too low to tread the floor.
We're low—we're low—we're very, very low,
Yet from our fingers glide
The silken flow—and the robes that glow
Round the limbs of the sons of pride.
And what we get—and what we give—
We know, and we know our share:
We're not too low the cloth to weave,
But too low the cloth to wear.
We're low—we're low—we're very, very low,
And yet when the trumpets ring,
The thrust of a poor man's arm will go
Through the heart of the proudest king.
We're low—we're low—our place we know
We're only the rank and file,
We're not too low to kill the foe,
But too low to touch the spoil,
Chartist, 1819-1869.

Sentenced in 1848 to two years imprisonment.
“An amalgamation of classes is impossible...these two portions of the community must be separated distinctly, dividedly and openly, from each other, CLASS AGAINST CLASS. All other mode of procedure is mere moonshine.” - Notes to the People, 1850

Other poetry of his here

Saturday, May 18, 2013

La Belle Sansculotte


She is coming, O my masters, she is coming in her might,
With the red flag o’er her legions and her sword sharp, clean and bright;
She is breaking through your dungeons, she is tearing off your chain,
She is coming to take vengeance without mercy once again!

She is coming, O my masters, with a new might in her arms,
Her vision clear, unclouded by a dying Satan’s charms;
She is coming in hate’s beauty, with love’s fierceness in her eye,
Like a maddened mother hast’ning where your tortured child-slaves die!

She is coming, O my masters, with her strong, steel-muscled hands,
She is reaching for your factories, your gardens and your lands;
She is calling to her standard all the sons of grief and toil,
She is promising your soldiers all your stolen wealth for spoil.

She is coming, O my masters! ’Neath her red, triumphal arch,
Lo! the guards that now surround you in her rebel ranks shall march!
She is coming as forever and forever she has come,
Arm in arm with Hope and Freedom, to the long roll of Right’s drum!

She is coming, O my masters! Soon her troops shall rest their feet
In the limpid waters flowing through your bowers, cool and sweet;
Soon her hungered hosts shall gather in your gold-roofed banquet hall,
And to ecstatic music hold high revel o’er your fall!

She is coming, O my masters, she is coming in her might,
With the red flag o’er her legions and her sword sharp, clean and bright!
She is coming in hate’s beauty, with love’s fierceness in her eye,
Like a maddened mother hast’ning where your tortured child-slaves die!

By Covington Hall
Oldtime Industrial Unionist

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Gerald Massey - the Chartist Poet


Good People, put no faith in Kings, nor merchant-princes trust,
Who grind your hearts in Mammon's press—your faces in the
Trust to your own true thought! to break the Tyrant's dark dark
If yet one spark of freedom lives, let man be true to man.
We'll never fight again, Boys! with the Yankee, Pole, or Russ.
We love the French as Brothers, and the fervid French love us!
We'll league to crush the fiends who kill, all love and liberty,
They are but Giants because we kneel, one leap, and up go we!

Trust not the Priests, their tears are lies, their hearts are hard and
The welcomest of all their flock, are fierce wolves fleeced with gold;
Rogues all! for hire they prop the laws, that make us poor men
Ay! tho' their robes are black without, they've blacker souls
The Church and State are linkt, and sworn to desolate the land—
Good People, twixt these foxes tails, we'll fling a fiery brand!
Who fears the worst that they can wreak, that loveth liberty?
They are but Giants because we kneel, one leap and up go we!

"Back tramplers of the many! death and danger ambusht lie?
"Beware ye! or the blood may run! respect a nation's cry.
"Ah, shut not out the light of Hope! the People blind, may dash
"Like Sampson in his strong death-grope, and whelm ye in the
"Think how they taxt the People mad, that old regime of
"Whose heads, like poppies from Death's sythe, fell in a bloody
Ye plead in vain! ye bleed in vain! ah! Blind, when will ye see,
They are but Giants because we kneel! one leap, and up go we?

We've fought and bled, while Fortune's darlings slunk in
splendid lair,
With souls that crept like worms in buried Beauty's golden hair!
A tale of lives wrung out in tears, their grandeur-garb reveals,
And the last sobs of breaking hearts, sound in their chariot wheels.
But they're quaking now! and shaking now! who've wrought the
hurtling sorrow:
To-day the Desolators, but the desolate To-morrow!
Loud o'er their murderous menace, wakes the watchword of the
Kings are but Giants because we kneel! one leap, and up go we!

Some brave and patriots hearts, are gone, to break beyond the
And some who gave their lives for love, have found a prison-
Some, have grown grey with weeping! some have fainted by the
But youth still nouritures* within the hope of a better day.
O! Blessings on world-conquering youth! God's with the shining
Their spirits breathe of Paradise! they're freshest from his hand!
And looking on the People's might, who doubts they shall be
Kings are but Giants because we kneel ! one leap, and up go we!
* Nurtures.

(1828 - 1907)

Born in a hovel in Tring, on 29th May 1828, (Thomas) Gerald Massey was the eldest son of an impoverished and illiterate canal-boatman. Massey said of himself that “he had no childhood,” for on reaching the age of eight he was put to work in the Town’s silk mill where his twelve-hour days spent labouring in grim conditions added between nine pence and one shilling and three pence to his father's meagre earnings. He later worked in Tring’s then-thriving straw plaiting industry producing braid for the straw hat trade in nearby Luton and Dunstable. Thanks to his mother, Mary, Massey received a scant education at a “penny school”. Despite these tough beginnings, he learned to read and write using the Bible, Bunyan, Robinson Crusoe and Wesleyan tracts left at the family home.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Day Greetings

On May Day, the day of international working class solidarity and struggle, the Socialist Party of Great Britain sends its fraternal greetings to the working class. The Socialist Party sends its greetings to the workers of all countries the world over who are waging the same class struggle against capitalism. We have declared war upon the capitalist class, and upon the capitalist system. We are of the working class. We say: Arise, you worker! It is in your power to put an end to this system, seize and take control of the tools with which you work, and make yourselves the masters instead of being the slaves of industry. Long enough have we suffered ourselves to blindly and stupidly follow a leadership that has misled and deceived and betrayed. Wipe out the wage system, so that you can walk this Earth free men and women!

The Workers Maypole

World Workers, whatever may bind ye,
This day let your work be undone:
Cast the clouds of the winter behind ye,
And come forth and be glad in the sun.

Now again while the green earth rejoices
In the bud and the blossom of May
Lift your hearts up again, and your voices,
And keep merry the World's Labour Day.

Let the winds lift your banners from far lands
With a message of strife and of hope:
Raise the Maypole aloft with its garlands
That gathers your cause in its scope.

It is writ on each ribbon that flies
That flutters from fair Freedom's heart:
If still far be the crown and the prize
In its winning may each take a part.

Your cause is the hope of the world,
In your strife is the life of the race,
The workers' flag Freedom unfurled
Is the veil of the bright future's face.

Be ye many or few drawn together,
Let your message be clear on this day;
Be ye birds of the spring, of one feather
In this--that ye sing on May-Day.

Of the new life that still lieth hidden,
Though its shadow is cast before;
The new birth of hope that unbidden
Surely comes, as the sea to the shore.

Stand fast, then, Oh Workers, your ground,
Together pull, strong and united:
Link your hands like a chain the world round,
If you will that your hopes be requited.

When the World's Workers, sisters and brothers,
Shall build, in the new coming years,
A lair house of life--not for others,
For the earth and its fulness is theirs.

Walter Crane
Justice, 1894

Monday, March 04, 2013

A socialist poem

We are the ones who knead and yet we have no bread,
we are the ones who dig for coal and yet we are cold.

We are the ones who have nothing,
 and we are coming to take the world.

  Tassos Livaditis (Greek poet, 1922-1988)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some Poetry by Langston Hughes


The ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamonds and jade,
Sit silently on their temple shelves
While the people
Are afraid.
Yet the ivory gods.
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond-jade,
Are only silly puppet gods
That the people themselves
Have made.

I Dream A World

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Burns Night

To some, Robert Burns was a political radical and thinker, a seditious revolutionary and a staunch republican. Research suggests that Burns was an active member of The Friends of the People, formed in 1792 and the first organisation in Scottish history to openly call for universal suffrage for all men, rich or poor. This early proto-democracy movement never really had mass support in Scotland, and was crushed by government forces by 1794. "Robert Bruce's March To Bannockburn", better known as "Scots Wha Hae", was written in response to the trial of the radical Thomas Muir. Thomas Muir sentenced to 14 years imprisonment and deportation to Botany Bay, amongst the charges he was indicted with was singing ‘Ca Ira’ in public, an unofficial anthem of the French Revolution. The last line of Scots Wha Hae is “Let us Do or Die!” - was the oath of the French revolutionaries.

Burns was an advocate of "make love not war" as penned in  "I Murder Hate".
"In wars at home I'll spend my blood-
Life-giving wars of Venus.
The deities that I adore
Are Social Peace and Plenty,
I’m better pleased to make one more
Than be the death of twenty.”

In ‘Address of Beelzebub’ Burns uses satire and has the poem’s narrator, Auld Nick, praising the landlord class encouraging them to actually brutalise their tenants even more than they have been doing.

“And they, be Damned, what right hae they
To meat or sleep or light of day
Far less to riches, power or freedom
But what your Lordships like tae gie them.”

"Man Was Made to Mourn - A Dirge" is a cheerless poem and yet another example of Robert Burn's loathing of the class differences between the workers and the land-owners. Burns once told his brother that "he could not well conceive a more mortifying picture of human life than a man seeking work."  Burns felt it was horrible that a "wight," a human being, needing to earn money and wanting to be useful to people, was able to work only by permission of somebody else -  somebody who could make profit from him! That humiliating and desperate "sentiment" came to life with "Man was Made to Mourn," It shows again his deep compassion for the man trying to find work in order to feed and house his family. Two lines raise it to the level of a modern proverb:
'Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!'

Throughout history, countless thousands continue to mourn as a result of pain, torture, and loss of life inflicted upon them or those near and dear to them--innocent men, women, and children.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Last Poem

Eight former army lieutenants have been charged in the killing of Chilean singer and songwriter Victor Jara during the 1973 coup that toppled President Salvador Allende. His body was found riddled with bullets and bearing signs of torture.


(Written in the football stadium cum concentration camp, where the Scottish national side to their eternal shame ignobly chose to play at a few years later)

We are five thousand
Confined in this little part of town
We are five thousand
How many of us are there throughout the country?

Such a large portion of humanity
With hunger, cold, horror and pain
Six among us have already been lost
And have joined the stars in the sky.

One killed, another beaten
As I never imagined a human being
could be beaten
The other four just wanted to put an end
To their fears

One by jumping down to his death
The other smashing his head against a wall
But all of them
Looking straight into the eyes of death.

We are ten thousand hands
That can no longer work
How many of us are there
Throughout the country?

The blood shed by our comrade President
Has more power than bombs and machine guns
With that same strength our collective fist
Will strike again some day.

Song, How imperfect you are!
When I most need to sing, I cannot
I cannot because I am still alive
I cannot because I am dying

It terrifies me to find myself
Lost in infinite moments
On which silence and shouts
Are the objectives of my song

What I now see, I have never seen
What I feel and what I have felt
Will make the moment spring again. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Joe Corrie - Rebel Poems

Joe Corrie (1894-1968), poet and playwright, was a Fife miner, and his early poems were published in the left-wing paper, the 'Forward'. He has been described as "a class-consious poet." T. S. Eliot described him as "the greatest Scots poet since Burns". Many of his poems have now been set to music by such as the Battlefield Band. The Corrie Centre in Cardenden was named after him as belated recognition of his talents.

Corrie's first plays, The Shillin' a Week-Man and The Poacher, were performed by his group of fellow miners, the Bowhill Village Players, during the 1926 General Strike. In Time o' Strife Corrie dramatised the subsequent lockout. He wrote the play about the strike (which was heading to a bitter, protracted defeat) because he was on strike. Had he not been on strike, he couldn’t have written a full length play of any kind. The play itself is a family argument about how to make the best out of defeat. The last line will resonate with the defeated miners of the 84-85 strike. “Sing tho they hae ye crushed in the mire…you’ll win through yet, for there’s nae power on earth can crush the men who can sing on a day like this.”

Some of his poetry


I am the Common Man
I am the brute and the slave
I am the fool, the despised
From the cradle to the grave

I am the hewer of coal
I am the tiller of soil
I am serf of the seas
Born to bear and to toil

I am the builder of halls
I am the dweller of slums
I am the filfth and the scourge
When winter's depression comes

I am the fighter of wars
I am the killer of men
Not for a day or an age
But again and again and again

I am the Common Man
But Masters of mine take heed
For you have put into my head
Oh! many a wicked deed

For other poems click read more