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Terry Liddle 1948-2012

The FHRG is very sad to note the death of one of our founding and most active members, Terry Liddle, on 15 November at the age of 64. Terry had been unwell for a long time, but had remained active in promoting freethought right to the end. We hope to publish tributes to Terry as we get them, but in the meantime, here are Terry’s own instructions for the rest of us on how to respond to his death. It comes from the collection Ça ira! which Terry edited for the FHRG in 2010.

DEATH SONG
Terry Liddle

Comrades when I’m dead and gone, no more than dust on the breeze
I beg you grant me one last wish, comrades do this for me please
Raise a glass of the blood red wine or a mug of the barley brew
Bid farewell to your comrade one of the foolish few
Who thought we could rearrange the world, dreamed we could make all things new

Kiss goodbye to my lovers, whose bodies I warmed with lust
My body once warm it is no more, naught but a whiff of dust
Remember how we fought the fight, lost and fought again
How we bound our bloody wounds, how we endured the pain
For we knew that like the phoenix our cause would rise again

The banners are tattered and faded, a paler shade of red
The devices writ upon them now can be hardly read
But we know every one of the words of hope, words of struggle and fight
A dream of a new and brighter dawn after the long dark night
A world reborn in liberty, a world we have put to right

Toilers of field and factory, workers of hand and brain
Will ye not rise like lions, sever the slaver’s chain
Will ye not cast down priests and kings and the money power crew
Remember we are millions and the tyrants but a few
Destroy their rule of exploitation and rebuild the world anew.

So sup your ale my comrades, drink deep of the heady wine
Cherish the sprouting barley, the grapes clustered on the vine
Say farewell to the old world, a world of grasp and greed
A world where poor folk hungered, a world of want and need
Raise a glass to your fallen comrade, who planted freedom’s seed

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About Francis

Francis King - researcher in Russian and Soviet history, translator and interpreter. Treasurer of the Socialist History Society, editor of Socialist History journal.

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