Speak out!, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, (1911-1984) Pakistan
Your words are free.
Your tongue is still your own.
Your body remains yours
Your life is still your own.
How in your smithy’s forge
iron glows red.
How the locks
have opened yaws
and every chain,
unlinked, now spreads.
The short time left to you
is enough. Speak up,
before the body
and its tongue give out.
for truth still survives.
Say whatever you have to say!
Democracy Poem #1, June Jordan, (1936-2002) USA
Tell them that I stood
and I waited
and I waited
But I never got
And I keep that scrap
in my pocket
just in case
The Unknown Citizen
W.H Auden – 1907-1973, Britain
(To JS/07 M 378This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.