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// -- Kenneth Rexroth, FROM THE PARIS COMMUNE TO THE KRONSTADT REBELLION


FROM THE PARIS COMMUNE TO
THE KRONSTADT REBELLION

Remember now there were others before this;
Now when the unwanted hours rise up,
And the sun rises red in unknown quarters,
And the constellations change places,
And cloudless thunder erases the furrows,
And moonlight stains and the stars grow hot.
Though the air is fetid, conscripted fathers,
With the black bloat of your dead faces;
Though men wander idling out of factories
Where turbine and hand are both freezing;
And the air clears at last above the chimneys;
Though mattresses curtain the windows;
And every hour hears the snarl of explosion;
Yet one shall rise up alone saying:
“I am one out of many, I have heard
Voices high in the air crying out commands;
Seen men’s bodies burst into torches;
Seen faun and maiden die in the night air raids;
Heard the watchwords exchanged in the alleys;
Felt hate speed the blood stream and fear curl the nerves.
I know too the last heavy maggot;
And know the trapped vertigo of impotence.
I have traveled prone and unwilling
In the dense processions through the shaken streets.
Shall we hang thus by taut navel strings
To this corrupt placenta till we’re flyblown;
Till our skulls are cracked by crow and kite
And our members become the business of ants,
Our teeth the collection of magpies?”
They shall rise up heroes, there will be many,
None will prevail against them at last.
They go saying each: “I am one of many”;
Their hands empty save for history.
They die at bridges, bridge gates, and drawbridges.
Remember now there were others before;
The sepulchres are full at ford and bridgehead.
There will be children with flowers there,
And lambs and golden-eyed lions there,
And people remembering in the future.

Kenneth Rexroth, [1936]


This poem, & others, first published online by Ken Knabb,
http://www.slip.net/~knabb/rexroth/poems/1930s.htm

For more on Kenneth Rexroth, see the Daily Bleed's Anarchist Encyclopedia page,
http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/saints/StRexrothKenneth.htm

& especially Ken Knabb's The Relevance of Kenneth Rexroth,
http://www.slip.net/~knabb/PS/rexroth1.htm


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Questions, suggestions, additions, corrections to David Brown at recall@eskimo.com