Gagarin [Poem]

by Quinn McGarrigle
Featured image by Mil.ru; licensed under CC BY 4.0

Connolly met the firing squad
Cancer took a young Fanon

Simbas came down from the hills
Those who fell saw less blood spilled

Old John Brown held his bible high
Work undone he gasped for life

Rosa she fought she thought and read
Cowards bowed and fascists fed

Allende went by his own gun
But he stood where others would run

Too many martyrs, too many dead
So many fallen brave unnamed

If Jughashvili died in his youth
Likely we’d sing his name too
Be they nameless or crucified
Many Stalins have also died

Sankara taken by brother’s hand
But first his legacy was stamped
Saints are chosen, they never lived
That easiest way to forget him

Warpath to Berlin paved with graves
Were saints and devils all the slain?

Something good, something funny
We seem to mostly mourn victory

Too many martyrs, too many dead
We’ll make the same mistakes again

At fascist hands his family bled
As a baby he hid from flame:
So a proud salute from Gagarin
For flags colored by his dead.

He followed Laika’s noble lead
The first of and by human grace

The second of us in space:
Peasant, orphan, worker of steel

No god seen from heavens’ perch
Bones shallow beneath Beria’s dirt

Robeson a hero if there ever was
Gerard laughs, Bobby Sands he won

King spoke of pending cosmic elegy
His name remembered, but say
It had vanished: in its place
Another’s words are as defamed.

Floyd, Bland, Taylor, Trayvon, Wallace
King’s own elegy was an uprising
And hope lives when the anonymous
Are mourned just the same with riots

Love lives in rage, sings lost names
With each new season of barricades 

Communism is the simple thing
That’s hard to do. Look into it,
Only the winter fears the spring.
(Who of us have been near it?)

Too many martyrs, too many dead
We’ll make the same mistakes again
Too many martyrs, too many dead
So many fallen brave unnamed.

Raise the flag, raise the prayer again
There is more than what’s been said!

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