Ralph Chaplin: The Red Feast

Language: English

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Versi di Ralph Chaplin, originariamente pubblicati nella raccolta autoprodotta intitolata “When The Leaves Come Out And Other Rebel Verses By Ralph Chaplin”, Cleveland, 1917.
Poi in “Bars and Shadows. The Prison Poems of Ralph Chaplin”, raccolta pubblicata nel 1922.

Propongo questi versi di Ralph Chaplin come Extra solo perchè non sono certo che siano mai stati messi in musica, come peraltro invece lo furono molte sue poesie.
Ma mi pareva che questo intenso appello contro la guerra non potesse mancare sulle CCG/AWS.
Schierarsi contro la guerra, specie quando ne risuonano i tamburi o già le esplosioni, è sempre molto coraggioso e pericoloso. Ne sapevano qualcosa Ralph Chaplin, Joe Hill, Frank Little, Wesley Everest e gli altri “wobblies” che per questo furono imprigionati, torturati e persino uccisi.

Per la sua aperta, seppur molto discussa al proprio interno, posizione contro la guerra, l’Industrial Workers of The World (IWW) subì una feroce repressione da cui uscì fortemente indebolita quando non annientata.

Nel 1949, durante la “caccia alle streghe”, il famigerato capo dell’FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, si lamentava apertamente che i giudici non sbattessero in prigione abbastanza comunisti e, ricordando gli arresti e le condanne di oltre un centinaio di leader dei Wobblies nel 1917 – tra i quali anche il nostro Ralph Chaplin, che scontò 4 anni su 20 affibiatigli come cospiratore e disertore - dichiarava che “l’IWW è stato schiacciato e non si è mai ripreso, e un’azione simile in questo momento sarebbe stata altrettanto efficace contro il Partito comunista.
Go fight, you fools! Tear up the earth with strife
And spill each others guts upon the field;
Serve unto death the men you served in life
So that their wide dominions may not yield.

Stand by the flag—the lie that still allures;
Lay down your lives for land you do not own,
And give unto a war that is not yours
Your gory tithe of mangled flesh and bone.

But whether it be yours to fall or kill
You must not pause to question why nor where.
You see the tiny crosses on that hill?
It took all those to make one millionaire.

It was for him the seas of blood were shed,
That fields were razed and cities lit the sky;
And now he comes to chortle o'er the dead—
The condor Thing for whom the millions die!

The bugle screams, the cannons cease to roar.
"Enough! enough! God give us peace again."
The rats, the maggots and the Lords of War
Are fat to bursting from their meal of men.

So stagger back, you stupid dupes who've "won,"
Back to your stricken towns to toil anew,
For there your dismal tasks are still undone
And grim Starvation gropes again for you.

What matters now your flag, your race, the skill
Of scattered legions—what has been the gain?
Once more beneath the lash you must distil
Your lives to glut a glory wrought of pain.

In peace they starve you to your loathsome toil,
In war they drive you to the teeth of Death;
And when your life-blood soaks into their soil
They give you lies to choke your dying breath.

So will they smite your blind eyes till you see,
And lash your naked backs until you know
That wasted blood can never set you free
From fettered thraldom to the Common Foe.

Then you will find that "nation" is a name
And boundaries are things that don't exist;
That Labor's bondage, worldwide, is the same,
And ONE the enemy it must resist.

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2015/4/24 - 11:56

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