John Henry Mackay, “Anarchy” (1888)

Ever reviled, accursed, ne’er understood,
     Thou art the grisly terror of our age.
“Wreck of all order,” cry the multitude,
     “Art thou, and war and murder’s endless rage.”
O, let them cry. To them that ne’er have striven
     The truth that lies behind a word to find,
To them the word’s right meaning was not given.
     They shall continue blind among the blind.
But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure,
     Thou sayest all which I for goal have taken.
I give thee to the future! Thine secure
     When each at least unto himself shall waken.
Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest’s thrill?
     I cannot tell—but it the earth shall see!
I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will
     Not rule, and also ruled I will not be!

                       JOHN HENRY MACKAY

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Filed under 1888, anthology texts, John Henry Mackay, poetry, The Era of Anarchism

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