Ca Ira: Poems To Shake The Walls Of Church and State
Complied by Terry Liddle.
Britain has a long and honourable tradition of radical poetry. It includes Milton, Blake, Shelly, Ernest Jones, J.B. Leno, William Morris and H.N. Brailsford. This anthology brings together some contemporary poems. None of the poets are professionals. Shop assistant, typist, miner, electrician, teacher, social security clerk are among the jobs they have done to make a living With the exception of Jean Zay, who was a French Radical Party deputy, all are British. All are still alive, with the exceptions of Zay, who was murdered by fascists, and Dave Davis, who died in 2009.
Some of the poems are sad, others funny. They deal with poverty and oppression, life and death; the politics of the Left. All of them are voices crying out against the haughty power of priests, bourgeois and aristocrats. All of them are cries of anger and rage, voices crying out for freedom; for a new and better world. These are not poems to be read in plush mansions and palaces. They are to be declaimed in dingy workers’ halls, behind barricades, on demonstrations, in ale-washed rooms above back street pubs. They are calls to defiance and resistance, to the fight for a better world.
The poets occupy a range of positions on the Left. Pete Relph is a member of the Alliance for Green Socialism. Dave Davis was a member of the CP and when it imploded the SWP. Vera Kryshek was an Anarchist. Maureen Scott was a 1960s Maoist. Roy McIntyre edited Hyde Park Socialist and was a Green Party candidate. Nigel Sinnot is an Australian secularist and republican. Terry Liddle has been in the YCL, the Labour Party and the Green Party. He is a founder of the Freethought History Research Group.
Terry has two poems in the anthology. One is funny and suggests that when the fires have been put out Hell will be just like the GDR. The other,more serious, calls on his comrades to raise a glass of wine or ale to his memory when he dies and is no more than a whiff of dust.
When you’ve read the pamphlet don’t let it gather dust. Get angry, get involved, get militant. On the decaying walls of church and state, on the bastions of capital write sonnets to liberty in words of fire. Ca Ira was the song of the sans-culottes with its refrain “Lets string up the aristocrats on the lamp posts”. Let it be the song of the revolutionaries of today and tomorrow, a new generation of poets and lovers, of free men and women.
E. M. McArthur.
Ca Ira: Poems To Shake The Walls Of Church and State, compiled by Terry Liddle; Freethought History Research Group, 2010. Paperback. £3.50 post free from Freethought History Research Group, BCM Box 5276, London, WC1N 3AX