The people

This is a gorgeous poem I learned as a child from my mentor Derrick Cohen.
Seems very apposite, as day after day I read of people’s over bearing glee with losses of freedoms it took our brightest men to create from nothing over a thousand years of history. Those who don’t know it, are doomed to repeat it: but it seems that those of us who do, might just be along for the ride – it’s going to get bumpy.

The People

The people is a beast of muddy brain
That knows not its own force, and therefore stands
Loaded with wood and stone; the powerless hands
Of a mere child guide it with bit and rein;

One kick would be enough to break the chain;
But the beast fears, and what the child demands,
It does; nor its own terror understands,
Confused and stupified by bugbears vain.

Most wonderful! with its own hands it ties
And gags itself-gives itself death and war
For pence doled out by kings from its own store.

Its own are all things between earth and heaven;
But this it knows not; and if one arise
To tell this truth, it kills him unforgiven.

“The People,” by Italian poet Tomasso Campanella,
as translated by John Addington Symonds


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