Gallant songs for the woke, revised

(From a hymnal in the land of plenty)


Way up North
they milled slave-picked cotton
charred garment workers
are long forgotten
look away, look away,
look away, if you can.
Oh I gave my thumbs to Morgan
Hurray hurray
my legs to DuPont
my arms to Armour
just to work and die a Yankee.
Hurray, hurray
to die both white and Yankee.

So we’ll rally round the bag
we’ll rally once again
filled with the dead
boys, hurrah boys hurrah!
Shouting that death
is just like freedom.
The plutocrats forever!
hurrah boys hurrah!
Down with the poor
Up with the lynch mob.
We’ll rally from the slums,
we’ll rally in our chains,
Shouting that death
is just like freedom!
Welcome in our numbers
the servile, poor, the slave,
While those rich men
from us steal
all human dignity us gave,
We’ll rally boys,
we’ll rally once again
ground by those men
who seized our freedom!


Attack some bride in a wedding gown
Using drones,
you’re not around,
Bomb them below
without a sound
Joysticks aren’t just for kids.

Heads up display, nothing passed
While they try running
not so fast
Shoot ’em all
while they last,
Gunships aren’t for kids.

Our dads were taught
to kill was fun
Napalm could grease
far more than one.
No oil shortage,
to be seen
with America’s
jellied gasoline.

They’ve only shown it
once or twice
But not to know
is mighty nice
Shooting peasants
is like killing mice.

From many, one
in god we trust,
only count them
if we must
Need we feed them
No, it seems.
Napalm’s makers
now make vaccines.

• For the historically challenged, Dixie, Battle Cry of Freedom, Napalm Sticks to Kids.

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..