Dear Jack, Dear Emma

January 23, 2009 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyr’d dead
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its ev’ry fold.
Then raise the scarlet standard high,
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here

What is more beautiful than revolution? Revolution. It’s a word we don’t use enough, an idea whose time is always now. With embarrassment some on the left shy from bold pronouncements of faith. “To the streets? An anachronism! A new world? Already bygone!” Folly is the fear of past failures. Revolution is the world made new.

Is it an individual? No. Is it a leader? No. Where does it live, what its visiting hours? I tell you it lives here, now, in the soil, the air, a word born upon it, on a picket, in taking what is rightfully public and demanding peace. It is the romance of justice in practice. And it can be ours if we name it, talk about it, nerve ourselves for the fight.

We write about it, sing about it, by all means show up and make it. This is our calling, but we don’t own it. And our earnest, joyful endeavor for it, for revolution, is all that will stand. Revolution is love shorn of the very possibility of cliché.

Battleship Potempkin


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