Friday, March 31, 2006

Those Who Stand Up And Speak

In the stinging heat of central
American jungles
Among snakes and pyramid temples
In Prague-city of a hundred spires-
In New York, in Dallas
Among the contract movers and buyers,
In Dublin and Belfast,
On the red stone streets of Tiananmen square
I hear they cut them down
Those who stand up and speak.

Zapata stood
El Hombre Indian clothed
Ghost horse rider.
Mexico City feared him
Plan of Ayala in right hand
Rifle and reins in the other.
Spreading poison truth among
Drooling hacendado codo.
Stood and demanded Libertad, Justicia, y Ley!
Told his jefes...
"Everything the government offers you is a lie."
Then one day while searching for cool shade,
Weary of politricks and war
They made sure Emilliano couldn't
Stand up anymore.
Yeah, they cut them down
Those who stand up and speak.

In Dublin city May 1916
The Irish Republic Brotherhood stood
"Poblact na Heirean"
Shook the shores of England
As Patrick Pearse poet warrior
Who held it a Christian thing
To hate evil, to hate untruth,
To hate oppression.
He knew his foe strong and wise
But even heads of state with their
Mercs and lies cannot undo miracles.
"Life springs from death and from
The graves of patriot men and women spring forth nations"
But one thing I know...
That after they've ordered a trench to be dug
Deep enough for a hundred bodies
They line them up and they shoot them
James Connolly, Thomas Clarke,
Pacifist Francis Skeffington, Macdermott.
They cut them down
Those who stand up and speak.

They tracked Che' Guevera down
In burning Bolivian jungle 1967
While in the Pentagon halls fat generals
Scheme and Cuban-Castro dreams
What is definite is the decision to struggle
The consciousness of the need for revolutionary change
Yet Che's own funeral dirge was the staccato singing of
Machine-gun firing squad
Body just discovered in these still
Unchanging...ideal conditions for the fight
Yeah, I know, they cut them down
Those who stand up and speak.

So don't you ever forget Beijing
When one man stood
Face fuzzy from satellite reception
Fronting tank and communism back against the wall.
With a sack in each hand
Glancing over right shoulder-gestured
Come join me in this revolution!
No one knows what happened to him
But I guarantee you they
Cut them down
Those who stand up and speak.

In Czechoslovakia-
Spring of Prague...
Poets, playwrights, workers, students,
Teachers and songwriters stood.
For there was no question of
Overthrowing communist regime
No question of snubbing Soviet alliance
There was floating in the air
A clear desire
An irresistible force toward freedom!
Freedom of literature!
Freedom of the arts!
Freedom of music!
Honesty in politics and public life
No more red stitch across the lips
Hands and feet cut to the nub.
-August 21, 1968-
Soviet-German, Hungarian and Polish
Errand boys stormed into the city of spires
And "trpelivost".
German divisions wore Russian Red Army uniforms
Their own bearing too much likeness to 1938
Past Nazi disgrace.
Now Slovack, Czech, student and workers
Sing in the street lined with war-machines
"You have tanks and guns,
We have truth and our finest hour-
You only have the power to beat and betray
Beat and betray
We only sing a song
And this is what we say...
Go away, go away, go away!"

But they cut them down
Those who stand up and speak.

Here in free America!
Man of Jesus peace and neo-Gandhian persuasion
Martin Luther King stood
Then he marched and he marched
Just another Christian soldier
With weapon of love in his hand
From Selma to Birmingham to
Washington D.C. ghetto streets
Exposing racists redneck segregation
He chanted...
"We have a moral responsibility
To disobey unjust laws!
To expose evils that are rooted
Deep in the structure"
Then he stood up
With those television, newspaper bulbs flashing
Speaking out against Vietnam and
American Imperialism
$500,000 was spent to kill one enemy soldier
Only $35 a year was spent to assist one American
In poverty"
He prophesied and said
"Your own government the greatest purveyor of violence!"
Networks and demons scrambled into dark corners
Then they shot him down
Because he didn't stay seated!

Still the people sing on...
"You have tanks and guns,
We have truth and our finest hour
You only have power to beat and betray
To beat and betray

I only sing a song and this is what I say
Go away, go away, go away!

Yeah I know I know
They cut them down
Those who stand up and speak.

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