Don’t shout “revolution” in my ear;
It is an ugly, unforgiving term
within which all illusions disappear,
and cities starve to death, and towns burn.
Don’t question peace if you have not seen war
with its perfume of stale shit and terror.
You’ve never had to take a life before.
It’s not a game. Don’t play at Robespierre.
Tanks will not stop for roses and songs;
they have no tires and your thorns won’t take.
Whatever else you do, don’t take too long
to realize the cost of your mistake.
It’s fellow students trampled in protests,
it’s children’s bloated corpses in the street,
the ritual lottery of the arrests,
and prison camps – like temples to concrete,
it’s gutted churches, it’s typhoid swells,
it’s unexploded ordnance in the ground,
it’s fields that won’t produce,
it’s poisoned wells,
and no one – who’s not afraid – around.