Black birds come screeching through the skies
On winds of war, as waters rise.
And prophet’s eyes begin to gleam
Beneath their floating hair. This dream
Of smoke and fire shall end at last!
A whisper rises from the past –
Millennium – as pillars shake
Millennium – as gods awake
Millennium – as flowers bloom
In mouths of corpses, and the tomb
Springs open to reveal the Host
Arranged for battle, ghost by ghost,
With banners flapping, black and red.
Millennium – “We are the dead
Who rose with Spartacus and fell,
Who sang John Ball Has Rung Your Bell,
Who marched with pitchforks on Versailles,
And those who answered Boukman’s cry,
Who rode with Makhno in Ukraine,
And those who died defending Spain.
We are the dead of all the earth
Who died to bring this day to birth.
The dead who dreamed another world
Have come to you with flags unfurled.
The burning wheels and turning gears
Have come around. The end is near.
Our work remains undone. But you
(Millennium!) shall see it through.
So take your mental spear, and go!
Cast down all thrones. Let forests grow
Where burning mills once filled the sky
With smoke and flame. Let empires die,
Till none is slave and none is king.
Then heal. Then build. Then sing.”
– Christopher Scott Thompson
The first image shows peasant rebels marching into battle in 16th-century Germany. The second image shows the march on Versailles in 1789. Both are public domain.