≡ Menu

Only By Fire is Fascism Finished

Year upon year in Earth’s darker forests,
Heaped at the foot of the trees,
Dry heaps of wood rot and leaf fall increase
Which sunlight shall never seize.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by bell, book, and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

The ash that descends in the September skies
Where the leapers  swam down the stones?
Best answered by bombs from mid-heaven at prayer
With the fire that hollows the bones.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by bell, book, and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

If their god decrees war, God’s war shall prevail.
His lessons are seared in His stone.
No dreams shall defer, nor wishes erase,
The answers that burn in the bone.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by bell, book, and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

Only by Fire is Fascism Finished.
This Sin is demanded that Your Line may Live.
Only through Fire is Freedom Reborn.
Each generation pulls the Sword from the Stone.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rob De Witt January 23, 2018, 2:31 PM

    This belongs carved in marble, G.


  • Joe Krill January 23, 2018, 4:10 PM

    This poem is very moving. I would like to know who wrote it.
    “This Sin is demanded that Your Line may Live.
    Only through Fire is Freedom Reborn.”

    Joe Krill

  • Ray January 23, 2018, 4:13 PM

    Keep in mind that the fascists, Nazis and communists were all socialists. They just had some doctrine differences.

  • Vanderleun January 23, 2018, 5:03 PM

    I wrote it, Joe. Thanks for your kind words.

  • EndOfPatience January 23, 2018, 5:05 PM

    Nice poem!

  • Cynyr January 23, 2018, 5:07 PM

    One for the ages. Worthy of Churchill.

  • Sam L. January 23, 2018, 5:39 PM

    Another post that needs annual reposting.
    Well DONE!

  • Fletcher Christian January 23, 2018, 5:42 PM

    Has anyone put that to music yet? I have not even the beginnings of the skill, unfortunately.

  • ghostsniper January 23, 2018, 5:56 PM

    Probably the finest thing I have ever read. Surely in the top 3.
    @Fletcher, I wasn’t 4 lines into it before that occurred to me, and visionist that I am, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to fit note to word. And then tempo.

    “Fire, Steel & Stone”

  • Fletcher Christian January 24, 2018, 12:18 AM

    Ghostsniper: Broken link. Can we try that again? 🙂

  • JoeDaddy January 24, 2018, 3:17 AM


  • hallyk January 24, 2018, 4:39 AM

    I’m glad knew you wrote it with the first verse!!

  • ghostsniper January 24, 2018, 4:42 AM

    @Fletcher, no link. Just playing with a title.
    I liked Rob’s suggestion of it carved in marble, and my idea of the year it was written in Roman numerals. With a hand and big hammer like at the end of them TV shows long ago. Like I said, I’m visual. Maybe some blast furnace flames in the background, flowing molten iron in the foreground, and the tattered flag in the breeze off to the right. (Trump’s Hammer?)

    Maybe it starts off as an acoustical ballad and some electric draws in at the end of each verse, then the balance shifts as the song moves along to more, and faster electric, til the very end has an 8 minute blinding outro with dual electrics trading back n forth and then perhaps a few lines of slower acoustic to top it all off.

  • Casey Klahn January 24, 2018, 6:31 AM

    Who are the Fascists?

  • Jaynie January 24, 2018, 7:31 AM

    Very moving, chilling. As I am one who fears war, it gets me the frivolity with which the left tears at the society and culture. These are the edifices that keep our people safe. Civilization needs nuturing inputs to survive let alone flourish. But ours gets shrill accusations. Attacked and hewn at as if it is not able to be broken, our civilization grows weary.

    The lie behind leftism is the belief that one can create by tearing down.

    A most amazing poem. Fantastic work. I too was curious as to its author as it seemed to be from an earlier time and of a more educated time. Well done.

  • ghostsniper January 24, 2018, 9:00 AM

    “As I am one who fears war…”

    “Reforger” was at the time the largest global combined military exercise in the world and it was conducted yearly in Europe with hundreds of thousands of soldiers involved. I did 3 Reforgers, ’75, ’76 & ’77. ’75 I did on crutches. Yep, at “Cold Steel” country, Wildflecken, Germany, EVERYBODY went to the field, no exceptions. Ever.

    Reforger ’76 (1976), my company had been in convoy to the CP site and when we got there the vehicles started peeling off in different directions in accordance to how we would finally be placed. My truck, with 54th Engr Bn., Delta Co., 1st Plt., 1st Sq., soldiers and equipment on-board and pulling a 5 ton demolition trailer, had stopped and everybody was downloading. Suddenly a Jeep with 2 NCO’s on board wearing light blue helmets (umpires) pulled up and had words with the El-Tee, Lt. Swensen the Platoon Leader. After the Jeep left Platoon Sargent SFC Conyers assembled a formation and put out the word that all of us, all 40 of us soldiers, and apparently all 200 soldiers in the entire company, were DEAD. No details were given. So we were told to standby and wait for further orders. So we stood around for a couple hours and some of us talked about the many ways in which we might have been killed. Because of the difficult location we were in we figured we were taken out by an airstrike. They happen that quick, in the blink of an eye, and nobody ever knows what hit em.

    While we were trained in taking out aircraft with small arms fire this will only work in flat, vacant areas. We were in dense forest.

    Ever heard F4F Phantoms at full speed tree top level? You don’t hear them. Silent death. Until after they pass overhead. If you do hear F4’s after a strike then you either got very lucky or you are in pieces and burning and on your way to the here after. Yeah, when you stop and think about it, scary.

    We was brash, full of vinegar, and in their faces, and fear was not on duty in those times.
    But we were new and we hadn’t been to war. Just exercises, with no consequences. But our time was coming….

  • Jack January 24, 2018, 9:19 AM

    I typically eschew poetry like I do beets but this poem is epic. I love it and I would gladly take up my AR to work on the problem. Perhaps one day I shall have the chance.

  • Vanderleun January 24, 2018, 10:40 AM

    My thanks to all. I am moved.

  • Jim in Alaska January 24, 2018, 12:34 PM

    I was going to go into a long rant and a reminisce ’bout reading at Les Deux Magots (No, not that one, the other one in East Village ‘bove Tompkins Square.) & cellar parties & hearing some youngster with a guitar and harmonica singing about rain falling & how, now, music lasts past the day and the word alone is passé but

    What I want to say is Only By Fire should reach a larger audience & if it had music behind it & an anime wrapped around it & it were posted on youtube, it just might make a few new generations think, at least a little.

    Just sayin’.

  • Casey Klahn January 24, 2018, 12:40 PM

    My compliments, GvD. Evocative wordsmithing.

  • ghostsniper January 24, 2018, 12:56 PM

    “…as to its author as it seemed to be from an earlier time and of a more educated time. ”

    It was, and is.
    See what kind of wisdom can be imparted in almost 3/4 of a century?
    Contrast to those 1/3 the age and 1/10 the wisdom….mere children, in thought and behavior.

  • Mark Allinson January 24, 2018, 9:24 PM

    This reminds me of these lines from Donne’s Metempsychosis:

    Arguing is heretiques game, and Exercise
    As wrastlers, perfects them; Not liberties
    Of speech, but silence; hands, not tongues, end heresies

  • captflee June 1, 2020, 4:33 PM

    Very good, indeed! Was this forged in the immediate aftermath of that mournfully epoch-changing late summer day? I would swear that I can feel the heat in the blood, that atavistic cry for vengeance that one experiences when the wounds are fresh, though I have read enough of your work to have seen at work your wondrous palette of skills that transmutes raw passion to high art to not be shocked to discover that you had just finished burnishing those powerful words yesterday. WOW!

    Ah, Reforger… alas, my time on the Fast Sealift Ships was after the demise of that exercise. Bayonne to Brussels in four days and change, laden with tanks, trucks, choppers, would have been fun.

    I suspect that most folks never get to experience in person a high performance aircraft overflying them in nap of the earth mode; it’s long been a game for brown shoe flyers to stage simulated attacks on naval auxiliaries, usually sneaking up from behind, down on the deck, and where possible in excess of Mach 1 so that the unwary are BOOM BOOMed into more alert watchkeeping.

  • Terry June 1, 2020, 5:31 PM

    I was quite convinced Gerard was the author by the third or fourth verse. I cannot pinpoint my reasoning for coming to this conclusion. There is a very unique style to Gerard’s writing indeed. Much to my enjoyment.

  • ghostsniper June 1, 2020, 7:07 PM

    Cap’n, I’m about 15 miles southwest of Camp Atterbury and 2 nights ago, just after dark, 2 C130 Spookies went over very low. It was glorious. The cats were terrified, the mutt was trying to make a new back in my desk. But I stood in the dark driveway and stared. Couple months ago 3 F15’s with their raspy gurgle went over in broad daylight. Man I could watch that shit forever.

  • BlogDog June 1, 2020, 11:55 PM

    Of a piece with “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” Greater praise I can not offer.

  • John Venlet June 2, 2020, 6:12 AM

    Year upon year in Earth’s darker forests,
    Heaped at the foot of the trees,
    Dry heaps of wood rot and leaf fall increase
    Which sunlight shall never seize.”

    Over the past three days, I spent hours sitting in exactly the type of forest Gerard so aptly crafted in the above words, though a primeval trout stream was carving its serpentine course through its environs, and I return home to, not fascists burning, but fascists burning America down, seemingly unimpeded, though pockets of exceptions are noted. Whispers of the fascists actions did reach me, as I sat in the forest, so even though the sunlight never seizes the forest, knowledge of the encouraged evil afflicting American cities seeps in to even the most natural of nature’s bounty. America’s currently low key civil war is heating up. How hot will it get?

    Captflee and Ghostsniper – My little trout camp is well within range of Camp Grayling. We quite frequently have A10s flying in the manner described by the Capt overhead, some flying so low over my crick that I could wave to them. Often, too, we hear, and feel, the dropping of 500 pounders on the range, and that oh so distinctive sound of the fifties ripping the night. This week, Camp Grayling has rather involved flying exercises scheduled. It’s a shame I’ve had to return to my city home in case our low key civil war becomes a conflagration, though I have no compunction about seeing fascists burn. Better fascists, than a forest.

  • jd June 2, 2020, 6:39 AM

    As I’ve thought and said before, you have a gift; we are
    fortunate to share in its unwrapping.

  • bfwebster June 2, 2020, 7:59 AM

    One of my favorite pieces of your writing. History teaches some hard truths, and this is one of them.

  • Vanderleun June 2, 2020, 1:29 PM

    The poem was first written in September 2004 when beheading was in flower. Found it here at the old American Digest:

    Only By Fire Is Fascism Finished @ AMERICAN DIGEST September 20, 2004

    ” The victim gasped loudly as blood poured from his neck. His killer held up the head at one point, and placed it on top of the body. ” — The killing of Eugene Armstrong

Next post:

Previous post: