Give it a listen:
It is a songpoem based on the last poem Voltairine de Cleyre wrote before she succumbed to septic meningitis. Voltairine was many things... a feminist long before it was fashionable, an anarchist when such a title was associated with regicide, an advocate of labor struggle and sabotage, a freethinker, an enemy of marriage, mother of bastard, a depressive, survivor of an attempted murder, a speaker, a writer and a poet.
During the spring of 1911, at the moment of her greatest despair,” writes her biographer Paul Avrich, “Voltairine’s spirits were lifted by the swelling revolution in Mexico, and especially by the activities of Ricardo Flores Magon, the foremost Mexican anarchist of the time, whose Partido Liberal Mexicano played an important part in rousing workers and peasants against the Diaz dictatorship.” Voltairine went on to throw herself into activism on behalf of the Mexican cause. It gave her a new lease on life, according to Avrich. “During the last year of her life, Voltairine was ‘filled with the spirit of direct action’”(Avrich quoting Goldman). This poem, dedicated to her Mexican comrades, was published in Regeneracion six months before her death. It was the last poem she wrote.WRITTEN—IN—RED
To Our Living Dead in Mexico's Struggle
Written in red their protest stands,
For the Gods of the World to see;
On the dooming wall their bodiless hands
Have blazoned "Upharsin," and flaring brands
Illumine the message: "Seize the lands!
Open the prisons and make men free!"
Flame out the living words of the dead
Gods of the World! Their mouths are dumb!
Your guns have spoken and they are dust.
But the shrouded Living, whose hearts were numb,
Have felt the beat of a wakening drum
Within them sounding—the Dead Men's tongue—
Calling: "Smite off the ancient rust!"
Have beheld "Resurrexit," the word of the Dead,
Bear it aloft, 0 roaring flame!
Skyward aloft, where all may see.
Slaves of the World! Our cause is the same;
One is the immemorial shame;
One is the struggle, and in One name
Manhood—we battle to set men free.
"Uncurse us the Land!" burn the words of the Dead,
Collected Works of Voltairine De'Cleyre at Anarchist Archives
Collected Works of Ricardo Flores Magon at Anarchist Archives
Ricardo Flores Magon at Libcom