Friday, March 6, 2015

Of Poor Old Bertolt Brecht

Of Poor Old B.B.

I, Bertolt Brecht, come from the black forests.
My mother carried me into the cities
As I lay in her body. And the cold of the forests
Will be in me till I die.
In the asphalt city I am at home. Right from the first
Supplied with every last rite:
With newspapers. And tobacco. And brandy.

Suspicious and lazy and satisfied in the end.
I’m friendly to people. I put on
A stiff hat like they do.
I say: they’re animals with a quite particular smell
And I say: it doesn’t matter, I am too.
[Mornings I sit a few women
In my empty rocking chairs now and again
And I look at them nonchalantly and tell them:
In me you’ve got a guy you can’t rely on.
Evenings I gather men around me
We address each other as: ‘gentlemen’.
They’ve got their feet on my tables
And say: things are getting better. And I don’t ask: when?]
Towards morning in the grey dawn the pines piss
And their vermin, the birds, begin screaming.
Around that hour I empty my glass in town and throw
Away the fag butt and anxiously fall asleep
[We sat, a light generation,
In houses that were supposed to be indestructible
(Thus did we build the tall buildings of Manhattan Island
And the thin antennae that entertain the Atlantic).]
Of these cities shall remain: what went through them, the wind!
Happy does the house make the eater: he empties it.
We know we are provisionals
And after us shall come: nothing worth mention.
In the earthquakes that are coming I shall hopefully
Not let my Virginia be extinguished by bitterness
I, Bertolt Brecht, stranded in the asphalt cities
From the black forests, inside my mother, in the early days.
Translation in English: Peter Lach-Newinsky

Music and vocals: Thanos Mikroutsikos, 1978. Lyrics in brackets not sung.

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