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Taryn Evendim, 'The Ninja and Samurai Sam'

The Ninja and Samurai Sam

Oh, there once lived a lad in a shack by the sea,
Where the mist and the seagulls fly,
And just one dream had he, that someday he would be
A great ninja, by and by.

Now this lad was a bit of a dim-witted lout,
And a tad on the clumsy side,
And whene'er he went out, he would stumble about,
But this had no effect on his pride.

So he said to himself, "I am agile enough,
And I'll learn with incredible speed!
All this ninja stuff, it's not really that tough;
Just some practice is all that I need."

So he went to the closet in his little shack;
Through its contents proceeded to root:
He took down from the rack anything that was black,
Saying "HALF of a ninja's his suit!"

When he wore it, he said "Well, it itches a mite,
But, oh lordy! How macho I look!
I'll blend right out of sight in the dead of the night,
And it's just like the one in the book!"

So he went out to practice his creeping around,
And with usual elegant grace,
He fell flat on the ground with a terrible sound
And looked up... to a REAL ninja's face!

He arose, and with vigor he pumped the gloved hand
With a grin and a wide-eyed stare,
Saying "Fate has been kind! You're not easy to find!
I've been looking for you everywhere!

You look like the Chief, so to you I will plead:
Won't you take me and teach me your skill?
A talent like me would be just what you need,
And myself, I could do with the thrill."

And with that, to the Chief's great dismay, it did rain
Giggling ninjas from out of the trees,
Who with obvious strain their composure regained,
For that's NOT how they like to be seen.

When they all had recovered their normal grim state,
And the last of the laughter had died,
The Head Ninja said "Wait, while we ponder your fate,
And we'll let you know what we decide."

Then he gathered together his men, and he said
"Killing this one would be far too mild!
He would be no fun dead, so let's let him instead
BE a ninja... at least for a while!"

So they plotted with many a cackle and grin,
Till at last they came up with a plan;
The Chief said "You're in, if you just do one thing...
You must murder the Samurai Sam!"

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By Taryn Evendim

(Happy birthday to the Bard.)
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Thomas McGrath, 'Against the False Magicians'

Against the False Magicians
for Don Gordon

The poem must not charm us like a film:
See, in the war-torn city, that reckless, gallant
Handsome lieutenant turn to the wet-lipped blonde
(Our childhood fixation) for one sweet desperate kiss
In the broken room, in blue cinematic moonlight —
Bombers across that moon, and the bombs falling,
The last train leaving, the regiment departing —
And their lips lock, saluting themselves and death:
And then the screen goes dead and all go home...
Ritual of the false imagination.

The poem must not charm us like the fact:
A warship can sink a circus at forty miles,
And art, love's lonely counterfeit, has small dominion
Over those nightmares that move in the actual sunlight.
The blonde will not be faithful, nor her lover ever return
Nor the note be found in the hollow tree of childhood —
This dazzle of the facts would have us weeping
The orphaned fantasies of easier days.

It is the charm which the potential has
That is the proper aura for the poem.
Though ceremony fail, though each of your grey hairs
Help string a harp in the landlord's heaven,
And every battle, every augury,
Argue defeat, and if defeat itself
Bring all the darkness level with our eyes —
It is the poem provides the proper charm,
Spelling resistance and the living will,
To bring to dance a stony field of fact
And set against terror exile or despair
The rituals of our humanity.

By Thomas McGrath
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Lee Brickley, 'When the Fascists Came'

When the Fascists Came

When the fascists came
My life forever changed
They rounded up my village
and they put us on a train

Into the night we rode
In dirty sodden clothes
I saw the rifle butt descending
as the bastards broke my nose
When the fascists came

When the fascists came
I traveled down to Spain
Risked everything I had
in the international brigades

Wounded in Madrid
where Franco ran and hid
I killed fifty men with my bayonet
but the monsters wouldn't quit
When the fascists came

When the fascists came
They lit the Reichstag up in flames
and the SS began purging
anyone with half a brain

With help from overseas
we brought the Fuhrer to his knees
and swore never again to allow
the spread of this disease
When the fascists came

When the fascists came
They started marching once again
Burning swastikas in Georgia
while the world looked on in shame

And in the desert land
as Turkey moved its hand
Another mini Hitler with imperialist plans
When the fascists came

By Lee Brickley
(2018)


https://youtu.be/idfCv4vnMg4
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Leon Gellert, 'A Night Attack'

A Night Attack

Be still. The bleeding night is in suspense
Of watchful agony and coloured thought,
And every beating vein and trembling sense,
Long-tired with time, is pitched and overwrought.
And for the eye,
The darkness holds strange forms.
Soft movements in the leaves, and wicked glows
That wait and peer. The whole black landscape swarms
With shapes of white and grey that no one knows;
And for the ear, a sound, a pause, a breath.
The hand has touched the slimy face of death.
The mind is raking at the ragged past.
……A sound of rifles rattles from the south,
and startled orders move from mouth to mouth.

By Leon Gellert
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Sabaton, 'The White Death'

The White Death

Almost night a crimson horizon painting thousand lakes red
As your army approach in the east a hunter is switching his prey
All alone a man with his gun wanders into the wild
Tracks you down you cannot hide once he's on to your trail

Enter the night a flash in the darkness
White Death is heading your way
The fear of his foes a hero at home
Hundreds will fall by his gun

You're in the snipers sight
The first kill tonight
Time to die
You're in the bullets way
The White Death's prey
Say goodbye


After the dawn when morning is broken snow once white turn to red
Blood red snow tells what happened last night a tale of a sniper is born
Snow in mouth hiding his breath he is steady at hand
Eye to eye target in sight the moment to fire has come

Hundreds of kills a man and his rifle
Embody the sisu of finns
Stay out of sight and cover your head
When he pulls the trigger you're dead

You're in the snipers sight
The first kill tonight
Time to die
You're in the bullets way
The White Death's prey
Say goodbye


by 'Sabaton'

Simo Häyhä aka 'The White Death'

https://youtu.be/q5CaQ37VYvw
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Constantine Cavafy, 'Thermopylae'

Thermopylae

Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion;
generous when they're rich, and when they're poor,
still generous in small ways,
still helping whenever they can;
always speaking the truth
yet without hating those who lie.

And even more honor is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that Ephialtis will turn up in the end,
that the Medes will break through after all.

By Constantine Cavafy
Translation by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
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Saxon, 'Battalions of Steel'

Battalions of Steel

Take up your sword the sword of the brave
You fight for legion you fight to the grave
For death and for glory your spirit won't die
Legions of steel to battle you cry
Hail to the heroes stand to the last
Gone are warriors they call from the past

Battalions battalions of steel
Riding out to glory and fame

To march or to die that was your creed
Comrades in arms an army of steel
No one can stand your power and might
Onward together into the fight
Hail to the heroes stand to the last
Gone are warriors they call from the past

Battalions battalions of steel
Riding out to glory and fame
Battalions battalions of steel
Marching out to glory and fame

Legions of steel to battle they cry
Marching to glory their spirits won't die
For death and for glory your fight to the grave
Raise up your sword the sword of the brave
Hail to the heroes stand to the last
Gone are warriors they call from the past

Battalions battalions of steel
Riding out to glory and fame
Battalions battalions of steel
Marching out to glory and fame

By 'Saxon'

https://youtu.be/Ng4SvUxNLg0
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Peggy Seeger, 'Song of Choice'

Song of Choice

Early every year, seeds are growing
Unseen, unheard, they lie beneath the ground
Would you know before the leaves are showing
That with weeds all your garden will abound?

If you close your eyes, stop your ears
Hold your mouth, how can you know?
The seeds you cannot see may not be there
The seeds you cannot hear may never grow

In January you've still got the choice
You can cut the weeds before they start to bud
If you leave them to grow higher, they'll silence your voice
And in December you may pay with your blood

Close your eyes, stop your ears
Close your mouth and take it slow
Let others take the lead and you bring up the rear
And later you can say you didn't know

Everyday another vulture takes flight
There's another danger born every morning
In the darkness of your blindness the beast will learn to bite
How can you fight if you can't recognize a warning?

Close your eyes, stop your ears
Close your mouth and then you know
Let others take the lead and you bring up the rear
And later you can say you didn't know

Today you may earn a living wage
Tomorrow you may be on the dole
Though there's millions going hungry, you needn't disengage
For it's them, not you, that's fallen in the hole

It's alright for you if you run with the pack
It's alright if you agree with all they do
If the fascist's party slowly climbing back
It's not here yet, so what's it got to do with you?

The weeds are all around us and they're growing
It will soon be too late for the knife
If you leave them on the wind that around the world is blowing
You may pay for your silence with your life

Close your eyes, stop your ears
Close your mouth, they're never there
And if it happens here, they'll never come for you
Because they'll know you really didn't care

By Peggy Seeger

Domestic terrorists assault US Capitol, January 6, 2021

https://youtu.be/ajkA_J8F060
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Danniel Schoonebeek, 'The Dancing Plague'

The Dancing Plague

Who was the woman who lived in the kingdom behind the barrier.
There are those who will tell you she was the wife of every man in the village.
And one night while her husbands were finishing their day at the gasworks,
the woman was boiling oats for her only child,
a young girl who’d amassed a beautiful collection of spoons in her life,
each one given to her by one of her mother’s husbands.
And this same night the young daughter died.
And the woman buried the daughter with her spoons in her pockets.

Come daybreak the hostiles appeared at the barrier with ice in their beards.
“To hell with Pax Americana,” they said.
And they camped outside the wall that night chanting war cries.
You say you want to know the names of the war cries that survived history.
“Wheel the gun carriages up to the barrier of the empire of husbands.”
“Our first word is ruin and our next word is value.”

There are those who will tell you the hostiles carried on like this for some weeks.
Until one night the dead daughter led them behind the barrier,
through a tunnel she’d dug in the earth with her spoons.
It was thus the hostiles made it their business to burn everything.
They burned the village crops and the distillery.
They burned the apothecary, the potash mine.
Black soot fell on the livery and they burned the livery too.
And there’s another war cry that’s since survived history:
“Tonight like god’s scalp in your kingdom behind the barrier
our burning makes snow and ends nowhere.”

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By Danniel Schoonebeek