What Is To Be Done
History is littered with stories of imaginary futures
Bread, land and peace were Lenin’s promises
and the Bolsheviks believed them
and, like others before and since,
believed in themselves,
believed they could achieve them
But, they weren’t uncontested.
power and conflict
external and internal
and internal contradictions
all in the mix
and look where it took them.
What was there to be done
Education, re-education, terror,
year zero nostalgia for primitive simplicity,
they’ve all been tried.
such imagined futures,
have a long history
and even longer future
similarly re-imagined every time.
So, what is to be done
Once my generation thought we’d done it,
achieved the imagined hopes of Lennon’s song
and created the basis for a future
based on peace and love and civil rights.
Even a pandemic couldn’t stop us at Woodstock.
We were unstoppable!
In diverse countries
we saw the rebels become statesmen.
We thought the struggle was over.
We’d done it!
We’d buried the monster
with a stake through it’s heart
so it could never rise again,
created something better
with our demonstrations,
with our blood and sweat and tears.
We’d seen the rain wash away all the traces.
We’d seen the sun come out.
We’d seen the colours of laughter in the streets.
We’d thought it would stay there for ever
but now it’s raining again
washing it all away.
The Corbyns and Sanders of the pasts and futures,
are standing there in the rain over and over again.
But as the polar bears know well,
nothing lasts for ever.