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Emma Goldman's Tribute to Voltarine de Clyre

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to whither, in a day it was dead, - all but the top which still clung longingly to its support, with bright head lifted. I mourned a little for the bud that could never open now, and pittied that proud vine whose work in the world was lost. But the next night there was a storm, a heavy, driving storm, beating rain and blinding lightning. I rose to watch the flashes and lo! the wonder of the world! In the blackness of the mid-night, in the fury of the wind and rain, the dead vine had flowered. Five white, moon-faced blossoms blew gaily round the skeleton vine. Shining back triumphant at the red lightning ... but every day, for three days, the dead vine bloomed and even a week after, when every leaf was dry and brown ... one last bud, dwarfed, weak, a very baby of a blossom, but still white and delicate, with five purple flecks, like those on the live vine beside it, opened and waved at the stars, and waited for the early sun. Over dead and decay, the Dominant Idea smiled; the vine was in the world to bloom, to bear white trumpet blossoms, dashed with purple; and it held its will beyond death."

The Dominant Idea was the leitmotif throughout Voltairine de Cleyre's remarkable life. Though she was constantly harassed by ill health, which held her body captive and killed her at the end, the Dominant Idea energized Voltairine to ever greater intellectual efforts raised her to the supreme heights of an exalted ideal, and reeled her Will to conquer every handicap and obstacle in her tortured life. Again and again, in

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days of excruciating physical torment, in periods of despair and spiritual doubt, the Dominant Idea gave wings to the spirit of this woman --- wings to rise above the immediate, to behold a radiant vision of humanity and to dedicate herself to it with all the fervor of her intense soul. The suffering and misery that were hers during the whole of her life we can glimpse from her writings, particularly in her haunting story, THE SORROWS OF THE BODY:

"I have never wanted anything more than the wild creatures have," she relates, "a broad waft of clean air, a day to lie on the grass at times, with nothing to do but to slip the blades through my fingers, and look as long as I pleased at the whole blue arch, and the screens of green and white between; leave for a month to float and float along the salt crests and among the foam, or roll with my naked skin over a clean long stretch of sunshiny sand; food that i liked, straight from the ground, and time to taste its sweetness, and time to rest after tasting; sleep when it came, and stillness, that the sleep might leave me when it would, not sooner... this is what I wanted,-- this, and free contact with my fellows... not to love and lie, and be ashamed, but to love and say I love, and be glad of it; to feel the currents of ten thousand years of passion flooding me, body to body, as the wild things meet. I have asked no more.

But I have not recieved. Over me there sits that pitiless tyrant, the Soul; and I am nothing. It has driven me to the city, where the

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