Bertolt Brecht


Of poor B. B.




I, Bertolt Brecht, came out of the black forests.

My mother moved me into the cities as I lay

Inside her body. And the coldness of the forests

Will be inside me till my dying day.


In the asphalt city I’m at home. From the very start

Provided with every last sacrament:

With newspapers. And tobacco. And brandy.

To the end mistrustful, lazy, and content.


I’m polite and friendly to people. I put on

A hard hat because that’s what they do.

I say: they are animals with quite a peculiar smell

And I say: does it matter? I am too.


Before noon on my empty rocking chairs

I’ll sit a woman or two, and with an untroubled eye

Look at them steadily and say to them:

Here you have someone on whom you can’t rely.


Towards evening it’s men that I gather round me

And then we address one another as “gentlemen”.

They’re resting their feet on table tops

And say: things will get better for us. And I don’t ask when.


In the grey light before morning the pine trees piss

And the vermin, the birds, raise their twitter and cheep.

At that hour in the city I drain my glass, then throw

The cigar butt away and worriedly go to sleep.


We have sat, an easy generation

In houses held to be indestructible

(Thus we built those tall boxes on the island of Manhattan

And those thin aerials that amuse the Atlantic swell).


Of those cities will remain what passed through them, the wind!

The house makes glad the eater: he clears it out.

We know that we’re only tenants, provisional ones

And after us there will come: nothing worth talking about.


In the earthquakes to come, I very much hope

I shall keep my cigar alight, embittered or no

I, Bertolt Brecht, carried off to the asphalt cities

From the black forests inside my mother long ago.


Bertolt Brecht – Of poor B. B. (1921)



Bertolt Brecht



Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht: Bertolt Brecht (10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956) was a German theatre practitioner, playwright, and poet. Bertolt Brecht living in Munich during the Weimar Republic, he had his first successes with theatre plays, whose themes were often influenced by his Marxist thought. He was the main proponent of the genre named epic theatre (which he preferred to call “dialectical theatre”). During the Nazi period and World War II he lived in exile, first in Scandinavia and then in the United States. Returning to East Berlin after the war, he established the theatre company Berliner Ensemble with his wife and long-time collaborator, actress Helene Weigel. (from: wikipedia)


Brecht’s poems





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