Monday, December 20, 2010

a pict song

To silence criticism is to silence freedom.

Sidney Hook (20 December 1902 -1989) philosopher

seems only fitting that today is also the birthday of singer-songwriter and activist billy bragg (b. 1957). I don't know about you but it seems to me that billy shares professor's hook worldview and devotion to working towards making the world a better, kinder place.

remembering that there's nobody here but us chickens, a better, kinder world is mighty powerful mouse medicine!

in honor of both sidney and billy's birthdays, today's song is a pict song. even though billy is a brilliant songwriter, this song wasn't written by billy. however billy did compose the tune. the lyrics come from a rudyard kipling's poem of the same name. the poem appears in the short story, the winged hats, which appears in the kipling collection puck of pook's hill, which you can access here thanks to project gutenberg. if you read the story, you may find the today's photo fits quite well. perhaps....

the vid features footage from various protests against globalization.

Rome never looks where she treads.
Always her heavy hooves fall
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on -- that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.

We are the Little Folk -- we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you'll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak --
Rats gnawing cables in two --
Moths making holes in a cloak --
How they must love what they do!
Yes -- and we Little Folk too,
We are busy as they --
Working our works out of view --
Watch, and you'll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we'll guide them along
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you -- you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!

We are the Little Folk, we, etc.

-- Rudyard Kipling

by the way, the song appears on billy's 1996 album william bloke

photos: west side market, cleveland. december 2010


California Girl said...

i like the words set to music. I'm not familiar w/ Billy Bragg but it sounds very Irish. i'll look him up after I post the comment.

Kipling was an interesting sort when it came to what his beliefs. He was a strong empiricist the Empire should prevail and all that "what what" good stuff. Yet, his stories were poignant and his underlying advice was "stiff upper lip" and all that. But, he had wonderful advice too. My father loved the poem "IF" and I do think it should be read to every boy before he hits puberty. And the stories...well! Once an English major, always an English major.

ArtSparker said...

English authors of the nineteenth century (although I think Kipling is also early twnetieth) are always very appealing at this time of year. I would agree with CG, and add that Kipling conveyed very well that the unconscious mind was at work in encountering and interacting with the other (in Kipling's case, the people of India).