“And tomorrow I sail far away
O’er the raging foam,
For to seek a home
On the shores of Amerikaiy”.
(19th century Irish song)
“O my America! my new-found-land”
(John Donne, To His Mistris Going To Bed)
Bold Vladimir Columbus sets his sails due West
Into the stormy deep unknown, much-charted seas
To find Amerikaiy: he goes at last to quest
For the Unfound Land. Where others hide and bide, he’ll seize
The chance; for he is sure his crew could, sailing to Hell,
Prevail, they who have learned their trade in harsh rough schools:
Map-makers have well done their work — practice will tell
The true mariners from the prattling tim’rous fools
Who haunt the shore, and dream of a far-off unfound Strand,
Loath to launch their craft out on the raging main,
Though they too know the next New World is now at hand
And can be won—chains to break, a world to gain!
Vladimir knows this tide may go again and strand
Them there becalmed on shore, dim dupes to passive hopes:
With straining sails and bodies stretched and torn, his band
Of heroes fight the waves and tides until the ropes
Have strands of flesh clinging to them, the waves are blushed
In red of their own blood, and myriad dead float thickly
Out on that bitter deep Sargasso Sea; ‘til hushed
In awe, they reach Amerikaiy, logically
Where they want it to be. And yet, it is terrain
Unknown, uncharted, nigh undreamed about, they’ve found.
There Vladimir unfurls, ‘midst lightning, sleet, hail, rain,
His proud, no-quarter flag on icy, volcanic ground.
Amerikaiy, the quested-for, the unfound land?
Vladimir knows: “Here is no Amaerikaiy!”
He dies aghast, not sure what land it is. Brigand
Liar Josef, knows: “ Amerikaiy, I say!”.
A savage wild dark place — Reversed Atlantis, rearing
Unmapped, in far stark sea, askance the old, gross world,
Athwart the new! Lost, they dream of realms of sharing;
Hurled back, they think they’ve set the future to unfurl
In untilled land, less free of brute Necessity
Than older worlds; where Want, which withers human life
Is sharper, harsher, deeper, stronger; where no City
Of God can build amidst the depredating strife
And endless war—all against all! Wars fought for place,
Or freedom; wars to stay on top, sweet nature’s heir,
Or rise; wars of the Lords of Life, mankind’s disgrace,
To hold their vanquished slaves — class war, raw and bare;
A place of bondage free of mercy as of laws,
Where those who fight serf-making Josef, Vladimir’s friends,
Are branded warriors in slavery’s foul cause;
And all that strives, resists, mad Nero-Josef rends.
Waves of Death engulf them now; the land is flushed,
Swamped in drained red blood; the dead are piled up high,
Deep as the bitter sad Sargasso Sea, ‘til, hushed
In awe and fear, they bend to Josef’s Enthroned Lie,
And hail the Liar King their God: “Behold our Sun!”
He, who curbs free act and thought with the butcher’s knife
And State-Empowered Ignorance, who turns the gun
On Spartacus, and Kepler too, in distraint of life!
Some of Vladimir’s friends defy the tyrant’s roar,
And live: they vow Vladimir’s song still they’ll sing;
Bivouac; build anew by the cold volcanic shore;
Raise clean sails, and go to sea once more; seeking.
And so, the fierce Odysseyan heroes who outfaced
Rude Nature fell. They left a land inside a shroud
Of blood — Josef’s “Amaerica”: there he disgraced
The Quest, redrew the maps, purloined Vladimir’s proud
Red Flag for the ruin wherein he peonised and maimed.
And we stand stranded on the shore, perplexed, lost band,
Our own Amerikaiy unfound, unseen, unclaimed,
Chained to bleak Necessity’s iron countermand.
Many who went to Josef, because our world is foul
Turned back in grief, hating the false and savage place,
“Amerikaiy”, that was no Amerikaiy. They growl,
And curse those who quest still: “A mad, malicious race!
“No world can live without the slave and king brigand;
No new Amerikaiy is hidden in the sea;
There’s no escape from cold Necessity’s command
Amerikaiy will never be!" — tired fools decree.
And yet, Amerikaiy does loom for humankind,
Will rise, new Indies, in the wild free furious sea;
And in no far-off place — nearer than that, they’ll find:
It will rise up in our now calm, familiar sea!
And we will climb from Necessity, mankind trepanned,
To Freedom: dwell in Amerikaiy ; find the way
To make a world with neither slave nor ruling brigand,
Our own long-sought, long battled-for Amerikaiy!
O my Amaerikaiy! My Un-Found-land.
(From Socialist Organiser, 11 May 1989)
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