The Defense of Sacco and Vanzetti

The Creative Response to the Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti

Fred Ellis

The day a slumbering but awful God,
     Before time to eternity is blown,
Examines by the same unyielding rod
     These images of His with hearts of stone—
These men who do not die, but death decree,
    These are the men I should not care to be!

From “Not Sacco and Vanzetti” by Countee Cullen few heard pipes play— if pipes did play—in the celebrant air or any muffled tocsin shake the sapphire-hearted night’s repose as Massachusetts, comforted, turned and slept upon her bed . . . .
From “Three Men Die (August 23, 1927)” by Lola Ridge Wine from these grapes I shall be treading surely Morning and noon and night until I die. Stained with these grapes I shall lie down to die.
From “Wine from These Grapes” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

William Gropper

Thus, Sacco and Vanzetti, may your words
     Reverberate through every clime and mart;
There is no other nation but the race;
     There is no other country but the heart. 

                         From “To Sacco and Vanzetti” 
                         by Louis Ginsberg 

For if anyone so much as named their name,
It would mean not them but you yourselves and shame,
And looking on their likeness he would see
Not them in prison cells but you and me—
And would find recorded on their graveyard stone
That the death we meant for them became your own.

                        From “The Condemned”
                        by Witter Bynner

Yet history knows: to every age, its crimes;
     Empires half-fledged cannot be wholly wise.
We shudder, learning to endure our times,
     And from the threatened flood avert our eyes.
Our senses will applaud the world again.
     But who can clap life into murdered men?

                         From “Of Sacco and Vanzetti”
                         by Babette Deutsch

Hugo Gellert and I. Klein

Louis Lozowick

Ours is the dominance of claws and not the grace
of fingers; ours is not the sweetness of a hand.
Almighty Bludgeon, we have been taught to hide thE
face when we have by thy might bestowed the wand.

From “The Infamous Ritual” by Harry Alan Potamkin
May this dour land go back now whence it came— To early granite, to implacable sea.
May there descend on it the cleansing flame Of some remote supreme catastrophe
Divorcing it forever with its shame
From men who would be generous, wise and free.
From “Prayer in Massachusetts” by Arthur Davison Ficke
All over the world people are hopefully, heartbrokenly watching the Sacco-Vanzetti Case as a focus in the unending fight for human rights of oppressed individuals and masses against oppressing individuals and masses. From Facing the Chair
by John Dos Passo

Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Library
Syracuse, NY 13244
Last modified: June 09, 2012 12:35 PM
URL: /digital/exhibits/s/SaccoVanzetti/case6.htm