Sunday, 12 July 2009

America: A History in Verse Volume 3, 1962-1970

by Edward Sanders

March 2

Robert Kennedy arose in the Senate to speak on the war
that had sent 400,000 men to its widening

He raised his voice against the escalation
& urged the Nation to "dare take initiatives for peace."

The singer Phil Ochs had flown down from NYC
for the speech
Afterwards Jack Newfield brought Phil
to Kennedy's office where Phil sang an
a cappella version of his song "Crucifixion"

with lines especially meaningful to RFK such as

"The stars settle slow, in loneliness they lie.
Till the universe explodes as a falling star is raised.
The planets are paralyzed; the mountains are amazed;
But they all glow brighter from the brilliant of the blaze.
With the speed of insanity, then he dies!"

Jack Newfield later recalled the response:

"Kennedy quickly grasped
that it was half about his brother--
and it was a very heavy scene
--he was wiped out by it."

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