Dora B. Montefiore 1917
Source: The Call, 29 November 1917, p. 3
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
By November the Paschendaele offensive was petering out after huge casualties in appalling conditions. DBM’s son was in the Australian Expeditionary Force which was engaged there.—Transcriber
Along the poplar-bordered roads of France
The burdened, saddened peasants come and go.
Whispering “A quand la paix ?” . . . Then with a glance
Turned on a roadside crucifix, they cross themselves
In simple hope and faith... They do not know
The Politicians’ creed “The knock-out blow.”
Across the endless steppes, and rich black land
The Russian moujik shades his eyes and waits
The sound of peace-bells, and a young son’s hand
To help once more with harvest and with plough.
He knows his Czar has gone; he does not know
That all the Allied Czars demand the “knock-out blow.”
Bending beneath the mists of Britain’s Isle,
War weary artisans and miners toil,
While women tend machines, use lathe and file,
And droop ’neath overwork and scanty food;
The workers of the British nation know
THEIR Premier leads the shout, “The knock-out blow”!
Stiffened in trenches, chilled by autumn blasts
Italians, British, French and Belgians stand
In snow and rain storms, conscripts to the last
Of Commerce lords, and despots of Finance.
Too well the real and awful truth THEY know;
These Despots have decreed “The knock-out blow.”
Tossed on the winter seas in iron keels
The sailors of the Allied fleets keep watch;
They note the dawns and sunsets, as each steals
Across the sky-line, bringing no respite
To weary vigils kept for three long years.
“The knock-out blow” is what each watcher hears.
For are not men and women slaves to-day,
Of Politicians, War and Commerce lords,
Who keep back truth, and make foul lying pay,
And own both armies of the Forge and Sword?
Armies that sweat and swoon, and die…. For lo
Financiers need them for “The knock-out blow.”
O, Peoples, staggering ’neath the knotted lash
Of modern wars, rise to your feet, no: soldiery now –
But MEN! Arm you with knowledge, and the desperate dash
Of those who freedom seek. Drive out Financiers,
Politicians; lay the Exploiters low;
Shout THEIR old war cry: “Give the knock-out blow”!
DORA B. MONTEFIORE