Image by James Rojas via Flickr Creative Commons

Upcountry from Delano

 The offenses of Mammon are legion,

but greatest is the offense against the vine—

this is to wound the heart of Dionysos and Christ.

Here, under the banners and the burned faces,

I see the simple strength of Zapata

and the complex mind of revolution—

the undying vine protesting in human form.

But beyond the march of wrath that

Cesar Chavez leads,

I see only the immense sleep of the nation’s

conscience—

the dreams of  self-righteousness that

manufacture bombs

and breaks up the demonstrations of life…

Edited by Richard Stone

This offering by Thanasis Maskaleris was written in March 1966 and links the mythology of Greece with the theology of Christ to challenge the ideology of capitalism. The focus may have changed from labor rights to immigration rights, but the story is not much different. Maskaleris is professor emeritus of classics, comparative literature and creative writing, and he was director of the Center for Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University. He is a poet, author, translator and founder of the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair at the university.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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