Posts tagged Bertolt Brecht.

Listen now to what the angry girl thought, but didn’t say

He who wears the shoes of gold

Tramples on the weak and old

Does evil all day long

And mocks at wrong

O to carry as one’s own

Heavy is the heart of stone

The power to do ill

Wears out the will

Hunger he will dread

Not those who go unfed:

Fear the fall of night

But not the light

The statement, addressed to politicians: “hands off literature!” is ridiculous; but the statement, addressed to litereature: “hands off politics!” is unthinkable.

Bertolt Brecht

Then boys with mischief in their eyes
Will find the girls who fraternize.
How could I hate him when we kissed?

The Song of Fraternization, from Mother Courage and her Children by Bertolt Brecht (via wellthatsoriginal)

We need a type of theatre which not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself.

– Bertolt Brecht (via sailoroftheskiesreviews)

The writer thinks: I have spoken and those who wish to hear will hear me. In reality he has spoken and those who are able to pay hear him.

Bertolt Brecht, “Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties”, via Juliana Spahr at Swoonrocket

My young son asks me: Must I learn mathematics?
What is the use, I feel like saying. That two pieces
Of bread are more than one’s about all you’ll end up with.
My young son asks me: Must I learn French?
What is the use, I feel like saying. This State’s collapsing.
And if you just rub your belly with your hand and
Groan, you’ll be understood with little trouble.
My young son asks me: Must I learn history?
What is the use, I feel like saying. Learn to stick
Your head in the earth, and maybe you’ll still survive.

Yes, learn mathematics, I tell him.
Learn your French, learn your history!

Bertolt Brecht, “My Young Son Asks Me…”

Solidarity Song (original in german: Solidaritätslied) Bertolt Brecht, 1931

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

Peoples of the world, together
Join to serve the common cause!
So it feeds us all for ever
See to it that it’s now yours.


Black or white or brown or yellow
Leave your old disputes behind.
Once you’re talking with your fellow
Men, you’ll soon be of one mind.


If you want to make this certain
We’ll need you and your support.
It’s yourselves you’ll be deserting
If you rat on your own sort.


All the gang of those who rule us
Hope our quarrels never stop
Helping them to split and fool us
So they can remain on top.


Workers of the world, uniting
That’s the way to lose your chains.
Mighty regiments are fighting
That no tyranny remains!

Forward, without forgetting
Till the concrete question is hurled
When starving or when eating:
Whose tomorrow is tomorrow?
And whose world is the world?

(via thistlog-is-yourtlog-deactivate)

Discovery About a Young Woman

Next day’s subdued farewell: she standing there

Cool on the threshold, coolly looked at too

When I observed a grey strand in her hair

And found I could not bring myself to go.

Silent I took her breast, and when she wondered

Why I, who’d been her guest that night in bed

Was not prepared to leave as we had said

I looked her straight between the eyes and answered:

It’s only one more night that I’ll be staying

But use your time; the fact is, you’ve provoked me

Standing poised on the threshold in that way.

And let us speed up what we’ve got to say

For both of us forgot that you’re decaying.

With that my voice gave out, and longing choked me.

—   Bertolt Brecht

Translated by John Willett

The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the beans, the fish, the flour, the rent, the shoes and the medicine, all depend on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst of all thieves, the bad and corrupted politician, lackey of the national and multinational companies.

Bertolt Brecht (via nicetoknowyou)

There is no eye watching over us, after all

I see them slowly put their spoons down on the table. The would feel cheated. “There is no eye watching over us, after all,” they would say. “We have to start out on our own, at our time of life. Nobody has planned a part of us beyond this wretched on a worthless star. There is no meaning in our misery. Hunger is just not having eaten. It is no test of strength. Effort is just stooping and carrying. It is not a virtue.”