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A few years ago I ran across the Adrian Mitchell poem "To whom it may concern" on Youtube. It was filmed at the International Poetry Incarnation in Royal Albert Hall, London (1965). I have read it many times at rallies and in schools, a very powerful statement that is so very relevant today with a few additional additional lies added at the end.

Anyway, one day my friend Malcolm was noodling around on his guitar and playing a piece he wrote called "Pale". The light bulb went up over my head!  "To whom it may concern" would go great with this. Couple days later I set up my laptop and recorded the guitar part. Went home and dubbed the poem over the music with a few sound effects and mixed it down to a mp3 file. I've been considering adding images and making a video out of it and finally stopped procrastinating and upgraded my video editing program to a more current version that is much faster and has a Youtube upload function.

The results after the Fleur-de-Kos.

The poem:

To Whom It May Concern

I was run over by the truth one day.
Ever since the accident I've walked this way
    So stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Heard the alarm clock screaming with pain,
Couldn't find myself so I went back to sleep again
    So fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Every time I shut my eyes all I see is flames.
Made a marble phone book and I carved out all the names
    So coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
    So stuff my nose with garlic
    Coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Where were you at the time of the crime?
Down by the Cenotaph drinking slime
    So chain my tongue with whisky
    Stuff my nose with garlic
    Coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

You put your bombers in, you put your conscience out,
You take the human being and you twist it all about
    So scrub my skin with women
    Chain my tongue with whisky
    Stuff my nose with garlic
    Coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

-- Adrian Mitchell

The Youtube reading by Adrian Mitchell is here.

Adrian Mitchell Wiki entry.

Adrian Mitchell FRSL (24 October 1932 – 20 December 2008) was an English poet, novelist and playwright. A former journalist, he became a noted figure on the British anti-authoritarian Left. For almost half a century he was the foremost poet of the country's anti-Bomb movement. The critic Kenneth Tynan called him the British Mayakovsky.

Mitchell sought in his work to counteract the implications of his own assertion that, "Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people."

Originally posted to Protest Music on Sat Apr 30, 2011 at 07:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Military Veterans, Progressive Country, Team DFH, and Community Spotlight.

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