Bring fuel—drive the fires high...
Throw all this artist-lumber in
And foolish dreams of making things...
(Ten million men are called to die.)
As for the common men apart,
Who sweat to keep their common breath,
And have no hour for books or art—
What dreams have these to hide from death!
Not your martyrs anointed of heaven—
The ages are red where they trod—
But the Hunted—the world’s bitter leaven—
Who smote at your imbecile God—
A being to pander and fawn to,
To propitiate, flatter and dread
As a thing that your souls are in pawn to,
A Dealer who traffics the dead;
A Trader with greed never sated,
Who barters the souls in his snares,
That were trapped in the lusts he created,
For incense and masses and prayers—
They are crushed in the coils of your halters;
’Twere well—by the creeds ye have nursed—
That ye send up a cry from your altars,
A mass for the Martyrs Accursed;
A passionate prayer from reprieval
For the Brotherhood not understood—
For the Heroes who died for the evil,
Believing the evil was good.
To the Breakers, the Bold, the Despoilers,
Who dreamed of a world over-thrown...
They who died for the millions of toilers—
Few—fronting the nations alone!
—To the Outlawed of men and the Branded,
Whether hated or hating they fell—
I pledge the devoted, red-handed,
Unfaltering Heroes of Hell!
“THE EVERLASTING RETURN”
It is dark... so dark, I remember the sun on Chios...
It is still... so still, I hear the beat of our paddles on the Aegean...
Ten times we had watched the moon
Rise like a thin white virgin out of the waters
And round into a full maternity...
For thrice ten moons we had touched no flesh
Save the man flesh on either hand
That was black and bitter and salt and scaled by the sea.
The Athenian boy sat on my left...
His hair was yellow as corn steeped in wine...
And on my right was Phildar the Carthaginian,
With his mouth pulled taut as by reins from his black gapped teeth.
Many a whip had coiled about him
And his shoulders were rutted deep as wet ground under chariot wheels,
And his skin was red and tough as a bull’s hide cured in the sun.
He did not sing like the other slaves,
But when a big wind came up he screamed with it.
And always he looked out to sea,
Save when he tore at his fish ends
Or spat across me at the Greek boy, whose mouth was red and apart
like an opened fruit.