Throughout the history of mankind, there has been war, starvation, slavery, injustice, man’s deliberate inhumanity toward his fellow man. There has always been those with wealth and power looming over, abusing, using, ruling with iron fists, war mongering, murdering, cheating, stealing, all the while rejoicing in their supposed superiority, crowing about the survival of the strongest and wealthiest and most powerful, at the same time pontificating about the “moral rightness,” of their ends while trying to keep their means in darkness.

There have also been other men and women, men and women with a genuine goodness in their hearts and a deep concern for the welfare of their fellow human beings. Those that see and reflect with human outrage, the injustice and inhumanity that surrounds them. Those reflectors of human nature that dream and pronounce their dreams for something better, something greater for the whole, something truly moral, and something genuinely just. These people, who exist and must exist are the writers, the poets, the painters, the sculptors. The artists past and present that take the horrible and ugly, and distinguish lies with truth.

I thought it would be good to present the great works of some of these amazing souls. The writers, poets and philosophers and singers and song writers that have spoken out, reflected the world around them and used their artistry to make a better world.

The Man With the Hoe

Edwin Markham (inspired by Jean-François Millet’s painting “Man with a Hoe,”
originally published in the San Francisco Examiner, 1899)

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

Is this the thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this—
More tongued with censure of the world’s blind greed—
More filled with signs and portents for the soul—
More fraught with menace to the universe.

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time’s tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Judges of the World,
A protest that is also prophecy.

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the Future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake the world?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings—
With those who shaped him to the thing he is—
When this dumb Terror shall reply to God,
After the silence of the centuries?

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”
by Bob Dylan

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin’
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singing
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

“Men after death…are understood worse than men of the moment, but HEARD better.”
Nietzsche

“Being unable to make what is just strong, we have made what is strong, just.”
Pascal

The Second Coming
W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Death’s Drama
by Killgore Trout

I’ve played Blackjack in fox holes.
Our rifles were loaded with chalk projectiles,
the tear gas was real,
but the tears were artificial.
Not long ago and far, far away
The bullets were real,
Tightly fitted with steel jackets.
The real tears had right reason to fall.
Blood freshly spilled, friends just killed.
Humble hamlets torched
With Zippo lighters
While pristine jungles were engulfed
By napalm fighters.

These people must be freed,
The North looks South with greed.
Old women weep for freedom’s injured ideal.
Soldiers in their newly captured jeeps
Sing of their vaguely shrouded victory.
These old men distainfully leer
At fragmented grenadiers,
Who breed this tear gas of decay;
In hopes of a better day.

Please feel free to post your favorite poems, quotes, song lyrics and/or
your own creations. This could be quite interesting for all.

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Nirek
Member

KT, when I was young I memorized about forty limericks. I could still recite a few today. Most of them a little raunchy.

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Nirek
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KT, now that I found this place I’ll be back, often.

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Nirek
Member

KT, I just figured out how to get here. I like the poems. The caged bird one makes me feel bad. My birds all fly where ever they want and they sing out of happiness. They are free to come and go as they please.

I keep figuring out more about this place every day. I was clicking on the drop down at Speakers corner, not SC. Could not find your piece. Sorry to be late to this party.

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monicaangela
Member

KT, I am so happy to hear of your reunification with your daughter. I am happy that part of you returned to fulfill a need, always remember:

“Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.”
― Rumi

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monicaangela
Member

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gil Scott-Heron

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monicaangela
Member

Aberration of morality

By Richard Macwilliam

‘Stuff happens.’ as a bomb falls,
‘Stuff happens,’ as the wind blows,
Stuff your ‘stuff.’

Minds fold,
Brains close,
The world reduced to a power-mad aberration of morality.

I imagine, one day, a race of humans with:

Insight
Wisdom
Morality
Compassion
Vision
Imagination
Creativity.

Until then we live by the Old School’s Rules:

Oil
Wealth
Power
Guns
Greed
Cunning,

Death glinting off cold spectacles,
Clean, mean, clear-cut simple minds
And their simple certainties.

‘Stuff happens.’

Death happens.

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monicaangela
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WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you KT those are two of my favorites, they have such intricate meanings. I have often said that each time I read either of those poems I receive something new and different than the first time I read them or any other time I have read them, they both make me cry, so let me take a second to get myself together and then I will place one on the board that I hope you will like. No, I did not miss the quotes by Nietzsche or Pascal, or the beautiful poem you wrote concerning war. As a Triage Nurse in Vietnam, I heard many stories from young soldiers as I explained the extent of their injuries to them and the procedures they were going to need. Some of those soldiers, many of those soldiers spoke their last words to me. I hear their voices in your poem, thank you for telling their story.

Now, here is another poem I like. I hope you will enjoy it:

The Dream That Must Be Interpreted

This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.

Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.

But there’s a difference with this dream.
Everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion of the present world,
all that does not fade away at the death-waking.

It stays,
and it must be interpreted.

All the mean laughing,
all the quick, sexual wanting,
those torn coats of Joseph,
they change into powerful wolves
that you must face.

The retaliation that sometimes comes now,
the swift, payback hit,
is just a boy’s game
to what the other will be.

You know about circumcision here.
It’s full castration there!

And this groggy time we live,
this is what it’s like:

A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived, and he dreams he’s living
in another town.

In the dream, he doesn’t remember
the town he’s sleeping in his bed in.
He believes the reality of the dream town.

The world is that kind of sleep.

The dust of many crumbled cities
settles over us like a forgetful doze,
but we are older than those cities.

We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life
and into the animal state, and then into being human,
and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring when we slightly recall
being green again.

That’s how a young person turns
toward a teacher. That’s how a baby leans
toward the breast, without knowing the secret
of its desire, yet turning instinctively.

Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligence’s,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream, and that will
eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rumi

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