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Torture Mill

Bobby Sands
Language: English


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Boolavogue
(Patrick Joseph McCall)
Modern Times
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A Place to Rest
(Bobby Sands)


Versi di Bobby Sands, dalla raccolta “Prison Poems”, pubblicata nel 1981.
Il titolo originale della poesia è “The Torture Mill - H Block”, terzo componimento della trilogia di cui fanno parte altre due lunghe poesie, “The Crime of Castlereagh” e “Diplock Court”.
Alcune delle poesie di Bobby Sand sono state messe in musica da un gruppo austriaco, i Rasthof Dachau (genere industrial), nel loro disco (pubblicato nel 2006) intitolato come la raccolta poetica del combattente repubblicano morto in carcere nel 1981.
Credo che per “Torture Mill” i Rasthof Dachau siano ricorsi a degli estratti, ma non mi è riuscito di reperire la loro versione, per cui ho postato il testo integrale della poesia di Sands.
L’ordine dei brani come compare nel disco:


The Sleeping Rose
A Prison Poem
Catholic Youth
Sixty-Six Days
Requiem To Barry
The Cages Of Long Kesh
Weeping Winds
Lest We Remember The Truth
Modern Times
A Place to Rest
Torture Mill
The Rhythm of Time



Prison Poems

Long Kesh at Night, dipinto del prigioniero Michael Mullen.

Long Kesh at Night, dipinto del prigioniero Michael Mullen.



Cella nell’H-Block n° 4 di Maze/Long Kesh, quello dove erano detenuti Bobby Sands e compagni.

Cella nell’H-Block n° 4 di Maze/Long Kesh, quello dove erano detenuti Bobby Sands e compagni.


On others' wounds we do not sleep
For all men's blood is red,
Nor do we lick the poor man's sore
Nor drink the tear he shed,
For King and Knave must have a grave
And poorest are the dead.

And poorest are the lonely dead
Who stare at earthen sky,
And rot alone in skin and bone
Upon the spot they lie.
But poorer still are stupid fools
Who think they'll never die.

They found him on his own door-step
In crimson pool he lay,
His deathly eyes in fool's surprise
Stared blankly at the day,
For plain it seemed he'd never dreamed
That death would come his way.

In draped pine box he made his way.
To that hole of no return,
The morbid band moaned death's lament
So his very soul would churn,
But this sly soul had tortured men
And surely had to burn.

His black splashed hat lay 'pon the box,
'Twas flanked by ten and two.
Twelve grim men of this dead friend
That vengeance came and slew,
That haunting ghost that catches most
Had caught this bugger too.

For he had tortured men no less
And by God he done it good,
For treacherous are the cunning cowards
And devious are the shrewd.
But bastards are the hated Screws
Who tortured men in nude.

And he had tortured men no less
For he was such a Screw.
Yet! whinging voices cried aloud
What did this poor man do?
He only done what madmen done
Upon the silent Jew.

From dust to dust, ash to ash,
The wizened parson said,
As sprinkling clay in loud dull thuds
Fell down above the dead,
And covered up forever more
That fiend that luck had fled.

So bury him and let him lie
And play your brass tattoo,
But write above his marble stone
"Here lies a stinking screw."
For if men knew what he had done
They'd turn their backs and spew.

We do not sleep on other's wounds
Or lick their bleeding scars,
By avenues of marble halls
Citadels or towers.
For prisoners lie in darkened depths
Behind the prison bars.

The word came up the frozen pipes
That one was off the air,
And each man knew a dirty Screw
Had got his dues somewhere.
And each man knew we'd get it too
But who could give a care.

The whispered word the naked heard
Was passed from cell to cell,
And each soul smiled like naughty child
At what he had to tell.
For though we lay in slow decay
We heard his requiem bell.

He sat upon the filthy foam
His piercing eyes ablaze.
He stared as if he did not know
Like one within a daze.
But all men wear this crazy stare
Within the dirty Maze.

He stared upon nightmarish walls
As if they held the key
To some dark secret of his soul
That would not set him free,
That hidden cleft through which but death
May find tranquillity.

He did not smile like naughty child
'Pon hearing what had passed,
Nor did he muse the morbid news
Nor question did he ask,
But unleashed a yell that frightened Hell
Like Gabriel's trumpet blast!

He laughed aloud behind a shroud
Of yellow skin and beard,
His blazing eyes burned with despise,
And madness of the weird.
And thought I then, to this poor friend,
A devil had appeared.

But knew I well in this dark hell
That torture does such things,
And leaves the brain like bare terrain
From which but madness springs.
And knew I well that in each cell
The sanest hung on strings.

We do not wear the guilty stare
Of those who bare a crime,
Nor do we don that badge of wrong
To tramp the penal line.
So men endure a pit of sewer
For freedom of the mind.

Nor do we bend to black-clad men
When torture scream is shrill,
They who slight God's given right
Of each to his free will,
So bend the back upon the rack
Of H-Block torture mill.

Each cell does smell within that hell
Where the naked cough and spit.
Each wall is smeared with something weird,
So the governor must admit,
On jail cement is excrement,
But what he means is shit!

And so it is this pit of his
Is reeking high and low,
This dirty mess he made no less
By casting men to woe.
And now he squirms not from the germs
But what the world may know.

They tramped us down into the ground
And righteous men ne'er spoke.
And in our nude they fixed us good
For freemen must be broke.
What could be done but smear that scum
And Christ it is no joke!

They do not call you by your name
Nor nickname try to fix,
For love and hate are hard to mate
And right and wrong don't mix.
You have no name but number plain,
"Move on, ten sixty-six"!

They call us "cons" to right their wrongs
They do it with a pen.
They call us "crims" to suit the whims
Of politics, my friend.
But they can call us all they want
For people call us Men.

From wall to door he walked the floor
Listening for a sound.
Each sudden creak or sneaky squeak
Sent him swishing round,
His bulging eyes so terrorised
Near fell upon the ground.

That eight foot space 'twas freedom's grace.
To exercise the bones,
With every step the body wept
In awful moans and groans,
And sounded like the gnawny grind
Of some one rubbing stones.

Beneath the sky men live and die
For man must die from birth.
And some ne'er see the flower or tree
Or know their lovely worth,
But in the gloom of prison tomb
Men crave for Mother earth.

There are no trees or cooling breeze,
To soothe our reddened eyes,
Like clinging briar the grey blade wire
Strangles cloudy skies,
And every cloud's a bleeding shroud,
And crowned with thorns it cries.

To dance and prance to love's romance
Is elegant and neat.
To wine and dine on red port wine
Is such a tasty treat.
To eat and sit where you've just shit!
Is no so bloody sweet!

Shocked you are , by far, by far
But shocked you do not know.
Perhaps you say this poet's way
Is crude and very low?
But in the blocks men have had shocks
That filled the very po!

You do not lie like pigs in sty
Upon a concrete bed.
Or watch them come before the sun
To count the living dead,
And ask of Christ this sacrifice
Maybe your penance paid.

You do not pray through each long day
Or pray into the night,
Take air in sips with prayer on lips,
To sleep may steal your fright.
And cross your head in silent dread
As darkness turns to light.

From wall to door he walked the floor
Like a man trapped in a mine,
And looked at me quite desperately
Behind a mask of grime.
For with each step he sank a depth
From which he had to climb.

And time is but an endless rut
And each man in his own,
And some climb out and some do not
And some lie dumb and prone,
While time goes by like cloudy sky
Its destiny unknown.

Now keeping time to squelch of slime
He marched a quickened pace,
Those blazened eyes like angry skies
Rolled round his ashened face,
And on he went like a regiment
That fled the battle place.

He ran that floor from wall to door
And glared at me quite dumb,
And I at him like mortal sin
For words just would not come.
For this was hell and in this cell
A soul was on the run.

Each wretched soul in that vile hole
Had one thought on his mind:
We'd get it too was what we knew
When night time would unwind
'Cause each man knew just what was due
For each man wasn't blind.

So each man knew just what was due
And each man paced the floor.
A creeping dread was greatly fed
As one would think once more,
And dread set in and ate like sin
Right to your very core.

Some rant and rave with awful crave
For nicotine and smoke,
To such degrees that 'pon their knees
The very dust they hoke,
Elusive ends in gasping bends
To kill their choking yoke.

And some inhale to such avail
The smouldering blanket shred,
For nerves are terse and options scarce
To tame the killing dread,
So pale as death with burning breath
They drag each reddened thread.

The crawling day just ran away
For time runs fast 'fore dread,
And near and near we came to fear
As minutes fell down dead.
And any hope we tried to grope
Jumped up and promptly fled.

Blessed is the man who stands
Before his God in pain,
And on his back a cross of woe
His wounds a gaping shame,
For this man is a son of God
And hallowed be his name.

The dying night was bleeding white
The dark was on the run
And dawning day drove it away
Before the blood-eyed sun,
And by the shadows on the walls
We knew that they had come.

You do not quake each day you wake
To a hymn of dawn that roars,
When stern-faced rats in black splashed hats
Steal in for Satan's chores,
And with their batons high and hard
They batter down the doors.

They beat the flaps with drumming wraps
And banged the pipes and doors.
So terrified we almost cried
Before their vicious roars,
And though we froze for lack of clothes
The sweat oozed out our pores.

The dirty Screw wears black and blue
The devil knows him well,
And he and they from grey of day
Call into every cell,
And stoke the fires that search desires
Within the blocks of hell.

They search your hair with greatest care
Shin lights inside your nose.
Your mouth and ears and very fears
They scrutinise like crows,
And may I ask what is their task,
For we men wear no clothes?

They search your back and every crack
Gloomy-faced and stern,
And scrape and gape at every space
Like doctor seeking germ.
But lewd and crude they fix you good
To make the patient squirm.

There is no crime in deed or mind
No dirty evil lure,
That any screw would rue to do
To each let this be sure.
They stoop so low they undergo
The morals of a whore.

They squat us o'er the blackened floor
Upon a mirror clear.
They shine a light for better sight
To see what may appear.
I sometimes think they have a kink
The way they juke and peer!

And blood is hot and blood can clot
For I saw it on the ground.
It seems to say what's gone this way
Was pack of horse and hound,
But no smart cox or shrewest fox
Could take this hunt to ground.

The medic's job though some what odd
Is to patch a body's hurt.
To nurse a man not curse a man
When body is inert.
Though in the blocks these humane chaps
Just rub your face in dirt.

Like screaming child I ran wild-eyed
Before that horde of rats.
They beat me down upon the ground
With thumps and thuds and slaps.
And then within the ring of sin
They beat me to collapse.

Like drunken man who can not stand
I swayed like wavering tree,
And felt worse than a sea sick-man
Upon a raging sea.
And worse again I bore a pain
That almost scuttled me.

In angry tear with grip of hair
They dragged me at a trot,
They strangled me, entangled me,
Like squeezing tight garrotte,
Then threw me in a cell of sin
My body in a knot.

He ran wild-eyed like screaming child
I heard their bawling cries.
And ran he did to painful bid
With terror in his eyes,
Until he fell into the cell
In lemming-like surprise.

'Hurry up!! and scurry up!!'
They screamed at tearing men.
We heard the cracks and baton whacks
For every step were ten,
And every man swore by his clan
To kill the cutty wren.

They all went still they'd had their fill
And Christ they had it full.
To do such things take special things
Learnt in the devil's school,
For when it comes to gauntlet runs
The wicked are no fool.

'Tis joyful thing in early spring
The morning lark to hear,
The mistle thrush on far-off bush
Crooning sharp and clear.
But who may know if lark or crow
With bleeding, busted ear?

Or who may sniff the fragrant whiff
Of daffodils and rose,
The wild green hills in autumn frills
Awaiting winter snows,
When worse the course you have to nurse
A broken bloody nose.

We fought back tears and scorned our fears
And cast aside our pain
And to our doors we stood in scores
To conquer their black fame
For loud and high we sang our cry
'A Nation once again!'

They lounge in might and glory bright
This empire once so grand.
With bloody fleets and dirty feats,
They build it without span.
But tank or gun they have not one
To break a blanket man.

We do not wear the guilty stare
Of those who bear a crime,
Nor do we don the badge of wrong
To tramp the penal line.
So all endure this pit of sewer
For freedom of the mind.

Nor do we bend to black clad men
When torture scream is shrill
They who slight God's given right
Of each to his free will.
So bend the back upon the rack
Of H-Block Torture Mill.

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2014/8/13 - 14:12



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