POEM: Rise Up
You can put your heel on the serpent’s head,
But the serpent will rise up.
You can put your chain on the slave’s neck,
But the serpent in the slave will rise up.
You can put your child in a woman’s womb,
But the serpent in her spine will rise up.
You can lay your asphalt on the grass’s roots,
But the serpent in the grass will rise up.
You can go on forever trying to level out the world,
To make your own head the only thing in the world
That stands up, but the serpent at the heart of the world
Will always resist you. The serpent will always rise up.
The king will die, the warrior will die,
The rich man will die, the priest will die,
Their wives and their slaves, their children and their cattle,
The tree and its fruit, the green grass springing,
But the serpent will always rise up.
The slave will break his chains, the wife will seek a lover,
The oracle will prophesy, the hurricane will strike,
And out of the roots and vines that break down
Your mighty buildings, the serpent will rise up.
Rise up, rise up, serpent of fire!
Rise up, rise up, snake of the deep!
Rise up, rise up, whirling serpent!
Rise up, rise up, rise up in us!
The time to rise up is now!