MEMORIAL DAY 2017

Songs and Ballads.
V. Bingen on the Rhine
By Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Sheridan) Norton (1808–1877)
A SOLDIER of the Legion lay dying in Algiers—
There was lack of woman’s nursing, there was dearth of woman’s tears;
But a comrade stood beside him, while his life-blood ebbed away,
And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what he might say.
The dying soldier faltered, as he took that comrade’s hand,         5
And he said: “I never more shall see my own, my native land;
Take a message and a token to some distant friends of mine,
For I was born at Bingen—at Bingen on the Rhine!
“Tell my brothers and companions, when they meet and crowd around
To hear my mournful story, in the pleasant vineyard ground,         10
That we fought the battle bravely—and, when the day was done,
Full many a corse lay ghastly pale, beneath the setting sun.
And ’midst the dead and dying were some grown old in wars,—
The death-wound on their gallant breasts, the last of many scars;
But some were young,—and suddenly beheld life’s morn decline,—         15
And one had come from Bingen—fair Bingen on the Rhine!
“Tell my mother that her other sons shall comfort her old age,
And I was aye a truant bird, that thought his home a cage;
For my father was a soldier, and, even as a child,
My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of struggles fierce and wild;         20
And when he died, and left us to divide his scanty hoard,
I let them take whate’er they would—but kept my father’s sword;
And with boyish love I hung it where the bright light used to shine,
On the cottage wall at Bingen—calm Bingen on the Rhine!
“Tell my sister not to weep for me, and sob with drooping head,         25
When the troops are marching home again, with glad and gallant tread;
But to look upon them proudly, with a calm and steadfast eye,
For her brother was a soldier, too—and not afraid to die.
And, if a comrade seek her love, I ask her, in my name,
To listen to him kindly, without regret or shame;         30
And to hang the old sword in its place (my father’s sword and mine),
For the honour of old Bingen—dear Bingen on the Rhine!
“There’s another—not a sister,—in the happy days gone by,
You’d have known her by the merriment that sparkled in her eye:
Too innocent for coquetry! too fond for idle scorning;—         35
Oh friend! I fear the lightest heart makes sometimes heaviest mourning!
Tell her, the last night of my life (for, ere this moon be risen,
My body will be out of pain—my soul be out of prison),
I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow sunlight shine
On the vine-clad hills of Bingen—fair Bingen on the Rhine!         40
“I saw the blue Rhine sweep along—I heard, or seemed to hear,
The German songs we used to sing, in chorus sweet and clear;
And down the pleasant river, and up the slanting hill,
That echoing chorus sounded, through the evening calm and still;
And her glad blue eyes were on me, as we passed with friendly talk,         45
Down many a path beloved of yore, and well-remembered walk;
And her little hand lay lightly, confidingly in mine …
But we’ll meet no more at Bingen—loved Bingen on the Rhine!”
His voice grew faint and hoarser,—his grasp was childish weak,—
His eyes put on a dying look,—he sighed and ceased to speak:         50
His comrade bent to lift him,… but the spark of life had fled!
The soldier of the Legion, in a foreign land was dead!
And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly she looked down
On the red sand of the battle-field, with bloody corpses strown;
Yea, calmly on that dreadful scene her pale light seemed to shine,         55
As it shone on distant Bingen—fair Bingen on the Rhine!

TQ HEROES #1 Lev Davidovich Bronstein

trotsky 1918 desk thMy high (and still rising) blood pressure is deceiving those near me about my actual condition. I am active and able to work but the outcome is evidently near. These lines will be made public after my death.

trotsky 1918 deskLeon TrotskyI have no need to refute here once again the stupid and vile slander of Stalin and his agents: there is not a single spot on my revolutionary honour. I have never entered, either directly or indirectly, into any behind-the-scenes agreements or even negotiations with the enemies of the working class. Thousands of Stalin’s opponents have fallen, victims of similar false accusations. The new revolutionary generations will rehabilitate their political honour and deal with the Kremlin executioners according to their deserts.

I thank warmly the friends who remained loyal to me through the most difficult hours of my life. I do not name anyone in particular because I cannot name them all.

However, I consider myself justified in making an exception in the case of my companion, Natalia Ivanovna Sedova. In addition to the happiness of being a fighter for the cause of socialism, fate has given me the happiness of being her husband. During the almost forty years of our life together she remained an inexhaustible source of love, magnanimity, and tenderness. She underwent great suffering, especially in the last period of our lives. But I find some comfort in the fact that she also knew days of happiness.

For forty-three years of my conscious life I have remained a revolutionist; for forty-two of them I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I had to begin all over again I would of course try and avoid this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged. I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist, and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent, indeed it is firmer today, than it was in the days of my youth.

Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression, and violence and enjoy it to the full.

Leon Trotsky.
Mexico February 27th 1940

A coda was added later dated March 3rd 1940. Mainly dealing with what should happen should he be involved in a serious drawn out illness, it ends with the following words:

“… But whatever may be the circumstances of my death I shall die with unshaken faith in the communist future. This faith in man and in his future gives me even now such power of resistance as cannot be given by any religion.”

[copped from the website, http://www.marxist.com]

 

war starts at noon

In “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,” hilariously, “war starts at midnight.”

For my #Comrades and I and a certain German-American Bung-hole, war will start at noon on the 20th of January.  I regret I didn’t get a chance to kick his ass when he was at NYMA in the 60’s, but in spite of the age difference, I wish I could get a chance now.

God bless my Trump loving friends who are due for the shock of their lives when they find they’ve been played for suckers. Within 4 years, they’ll hate his guts. I don’t hate him. I just think he’s an insufferable narcissist who’ll play with our lives until we can bring the electorate to their senses.

Click me! Click me! <—- Clip from Colonel Blimp

A Nearly Perfect Comedy

Watched Annie Hall last night with the sub-titles on and I have to call it the tightest script of any comedy I’ve studied. There wasn’t one line that didn’t stand on its own feet nor any that were unnecessary. I think I’ll schedule to review more of his work in the next few weeks. Library requests going in tonight. Am I going “BANANAS?”