Copper rose

Marco Montagnin

May a red flower grow, a copper rose, and an inscription with your name.


Oh heroes of a distant past – forgetful – arise from my words, men who fell in battle without a name, cut off was your thread, not by the Fates but by men like you; weak men who, silently, advanced with weapons in their hands to kill their brother, their unborn son.
Oh men, what a cruel fate awaits you: homo homini lupus, as it was once written.
Oh soldier, grab your rifle, advance at a steady pace, proceed like any other, but toss your weapon into the mud, reject your belief, betray your country, die for a new tomorrow, condemn the blood spilt, red like yours, red like everyone else’s.
Oh sad soldier, riddled by friendly shots, you shall not be forgotten; there, where you threw your weapon, may a red flower grow, a copper rose, and an inscription with your name.
It is up to you, and you alone, to rebel against cruel orders and stop the cowardly slaughter.
Stop soldiers, stop wherever you are, whoever you are, and dispose of your weapons, fight back with your bodies, which are already cold, before your last breath is condensed, before your bodies rest forever; stop right there, where a rose and a name are found, pick a bloody petal and take it to your love.
Do not speak of peace, do not speak of war, go back to your homes where they are waiting for you, go back with red eyes and hat in hand to the homes of your brothers, do not bring whispers of death, do not sully your hands.
Do not speak of war, do not speak of peace, stop and listen to Gaea, not a sound, nor noise, only red roses in an ocean of names. 


To save your world you asked this man to die:
Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?

Wystan Hugh Auden




The life of man is never quite completed;
The daring and the chatter will go on:
But, as an artist feels his power gone,
These walk the earth and know themselves defeated.

Some could not bear nor break the young and mourn for
The wounded myths that once made nations good,
Some lost a world they never understood,
Some saw too clearly all that man was born for.

Loss is their shadow-wife, Anxiety
Receives them like a grand hotel; but where
They may regret they must; their life, to hear

The call of the forbidden cities, see
The stranger watch them with a happy stare,
And Freedom hostile in each home and tree.

Wystan Hugh Auden



Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain.
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
The savage wars of peace—
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper—
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go make them with your living,
And mark them with your dead!

Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
“Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Ye dare not stoop to less
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Have done with childish days—
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

Joseph Rudyard kipling


When the war begins

Your brothers may change
So that their faces are no longer recognizable
But you must remain the same.

They will go to war, not
As to a butchering, but
As to a serious task. They
will have forgotten everything
But you must forget nothing.

They will pour liquor down your throats
Like all the others.
But you must remain sober.

Bertolt Brecht


To Walter Benjamin, who took his own life while escaping from Hitler.

Tiring out our opponents, the tactics you liked
when you sat at the chess table, in the shade of the pear tree.
The enemy who chased you away from your books
does not grow tired of people like us

Bertolt Brecht




Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.


Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.


When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Alfred Tennyson


Oh, wounded one in the dell,
so much you’ve invoked
So, three companions tell
They fell for thee, who almost ceased.
Among mud and blood
trunk without legs
your outcry still,
mercy on us who are left
heaving till no hour’s end,
hasten the agony,
you who can desist,
may comfort be
in dementia without madness,
while the moment lingers
found in a sleeping brain,
leave us in silence
thank you, oh brother.

Clemente Luigi Antonio Rèbora


You’re still the man of stone and sling,
man of my time. You were in the nacelle,
with malignant wings, the sundials of death,
I saw you – inside the fiery chariot, at the gallows,
at the wheels of torture. I saw you: it was you,
with your exact science persuaded to extermination,
heartless, without Christ. You have killed again,
as always, as the fathers killed, like they killed
the animals that saw you for the first time.
And this blood smells like the day
when one brother said to the other:
“Let us go to the fields”. And that cold, tenacious echo
has reached you, has reached your day.
Forget, oh children, the bloody clouds
Arise from the earth, forget your fathers:
their graves sink into the ashes,
blackbirds, the wind, cover their hearts.

Salvatore Quasimodo

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