To Everyman /// by Julian Tuwim
Now once again each TV station
is pushing patriotic crap,
and “For the People!’, “For the Nation!”
is sold as truth to any sap.
Now every mighty corporation
is making killing selling arms
so we men of the lowest station
go rape and pillage our own farms.
Now Heads of State begin to pray
and through their lies the mob incite,
decree that “War’s the only way
to do what’s Good, to do what’s Right!”.
Brimstone and pride in their oration
but they demand our sacrifice,
and as we offer our ovation
they know we’ll have to pay their price!
Imams and rabbis, priests and nuns
sprinkle their blessing over guns
for God has told them that His will
is for your Country you should kill.
As gutter tabloids scream and rage,
their chests puffed out on every page,
mothers and sisters still rejoice,
bidding farewell to “Our brave boys!”
– Oh, my ill-educated Friend,
Brother from near or far-off land!
Just for a while your ear do lend
and cast some doubt on high command.
Know they are telling lies perverted,
setting their traps, spinning you lines,
that from some hell-hole oil has spurted,
covering maps with dollar signs.
That through their banks blood money flowing
keeps vamps and vipers in good health,
while you till death will keep on owing
as empires suck us of our wealth.
So drop your gun, turn up your voice
and howl with us this one refrain,
free of their matrix now rejoice,
“We’ll never bow our heads again!”
Julian Tuwim was a Polish poet born in 1894. He was the leader of the Skamander group of experimental poets, he was also a major figure in his nation’s literature. In his principal collection of poetry, Slowa we krwi [words bathed in blood] (1926), he wrote with fervor and violence of the emptiness of urban existence.
translated by Marek Kazmierski, who escaped communist Poland and settled in the UK as a child political refugee. He decided to become a writer, then worked as a librarian, a stripper and a prison governor, among others, to have something to write about. Today, he is translating, publishing and running a series of insider art initiatives. Not Shut Up, OFF_PRESS and Intersection UK are his babies.