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de CLEYRE, Voltairine “"Light Upon Waldheim"”
Article published on 18 September 2009
last modification on 25 April 2015

by ps

(The figure on the monument over the grave of the Chicago martyrs in Waldheim Cemetery is a warrior woman, dropping with her left hand a crown upon the forehead of a fallen man just past his agony, and with her right drawing a dagger from her bosom.)

Light upon Waldheim! The earth is gray;
A bitter wind is driving from the north;
The stone is cold, and strange cold whispers say;
"What do ye here with Death? Go forth! Go forth!"
Is this thy word, o Mother, with stern eyes,
Crowning thy dead with stone-caressing touch?
May we not weep o’er him that martyred lies,
Slain in our name, for that he loved us much?
May we not linger till the day is broad?
Nay, none are stirring in this stinging dawn—
None but poor wretches that make no moan to God:
What use are these, O thou with dagger drawn?
"Go forth, go forth! Stay not to weep for these,
Till, weakened with your weeping, like the snow
Ye melt, dissolving in a coward peace!"
Light upon Waldheim! Brother, let us go!

— London, October 1897