Hands Off Rosa Luxemburg
by Peter Raynard
Red Rosa was carved from timber
in a Poland that was not her own.
She was not ‘mistaken, mistaken, mistaken’,
dear Lenin. Your eagle of the working classes
hawked a different path never landing
on another’s arm. She was Spartacus,
who kept moving to hear her chains,
advancement through struggle, the true manifesto.
She could smell the stinking corpse of Germany
when people held their nose. Called the workers
to revolt as gravediggers of the state, to lay down
their tools and take arms not against a common
class in some Great War they didn’t own.
Rising up she took the butt of a rifle to her head
followed by a bullet; her hands and ankles wired,
severed like her struggle but not her history.
Her country was a flag she never raised, her blood
without borders flowed into the river she was flung.
Freedom is the freedom of the dissenter; it does not rest,
not in peace, but within the, ‘I was, I am, I will be!’
Peter Raynard is a writer and editor of Proletarian Poetry: poems of working class lives. He has been widely published and his debut collection Precarious will be published by Smokestack Books in April 2018. His poetic coupling of the Communist Manifesto will be published by Culture Matters in May, 2018.