Thursday, June 12, 2008


I've been reading a memoir lately for my historical research that was written in 1949 by an ex-Communist. Her name's Charlotte Haldane, and the book is called Truth Will Out. She was a rabid Communist in the British Communist Party up until 1941 when she was a war correspondent in Moscow, and figured out the reality of the Soviet situation. She doesn't say what her religious views at the time of writing were, but she includes this poem at the end. To me, it's so expressive of what it must have been like to escape from the ideological clutches of a worldview like Communism into independence of thought. I'm not sure who it's by; she doesn't say, so it could quite possibly be by her.


I have found no wisdom in middle-age,
Nor happiness in youth;
Only one kind of truth
Which is a madness to most men,

But which some have known and recalled
As the sound of music
From a world entered but forsaken

When the cruel hand of habit
Dragged them back
Into the fastnesses of duty.

Bound firmly there, enchained to prison walls
They lay, until they heard once more
The familiar trumpet-call;

And when again those dear, defiant, dangerous notes
Floated out to them from that remote
Wild, happy land --

Then, beating to blood their hands,
They broke chains, hearts, tore down
The pillars to which they were bound,
And leapt, to blessed freedom.