top of page

Eros  -1920's


Brecht wrote love poetry thorughout his lifetime.  Some of these poems - especially those of his younger years - were plainly erotic and not meant for publication, but for himelf and his love partners, or among his circle of friends.  Brecht was plainly obcessed with two things: writing and sex.  After his death (1956) several editions of his works were published and then after a pause of some years, the volume Liebesgedichte (Love Poems) appeared in 1982. 


Many of these poems take the form of sonnets, usually in the Italian style of two quatrains and two tercets, rather than the English or Shakespearean style of three quatrains and a rhymed couplet.


The sonnet form was of course traditionally reserved for refined love poetry, but Brecht stands this all on its head with explicit sexuality, radical directness and honesty.  The emotional range is broad, from tender to savage, and the poems are filled with humor, too.








Painting by George Grosz (1893-1959)

Click on title for German original


The Necessity of  Art

The well-meaning woman, who yields with ease  
To cover all her bases, expecting purest gratitude,
Should realize it takes more than a good attitude,
When what he really wants is expertise.   
Even as she moves with the speed of a demon
from ‘yes, I’m yours’ to a total sexual flurry                                        

He's basically not in all that great a hurry
In relieving himself of his load of semen.

Yes, love at first has to be adequately warmed,
But to get past winter’s cold and freezing air
It definitely also takes a talented derriere.
More than just an occasional soulful glance,
(Good, too!) it takes a knack for real romance
From splendid thighs, splendidly performed.

(about 1925)


necessity of art

Click on title for German original


A Discovery about a Young Woman

A woman in the sober light of early day,
Coolly regarded on my way out the door.
Then I saw it -  a strand of her hair was gray!
Impossible for me now to leave anymore.

She was puzzled  when I lay my hand
Upon her breast - why after our night in bed
Was I not leaving according to our plan?
I looked right at her, and then said:

It’s just one more night I want to stay,
You must use this time; that’s the sad thing,
Poised as you are on the threshold of a door.

So let’s be quick in all the things we have to say,
Since we forgot somehow that you are passing.
Then desire stopped my mouth and filled me to the core.



Click on title for German original                     


What I remember from then was that there   
Was the rushing sound of water or some trees
Outside the window, but soon, I went to sleep
And lay absently for a long time in her hair.

So I know nothing; night-torn visions, and no more,     
Something about her knees, perhaps her collar bone,
Of her black hair, the smell of bath cologne,
And what I’d heard about her from before.  

Her face is easy to forget, is what they tell me,                         
Inspected at close range in proper lighting,                                      
It is as empty as a page that has no writing.                    

Yet she didn’t look too bright, they do agree,                                              
She knows forgetting her is simply what one does.
Were she to read this, she wouldn’t know just who it was.     


vague woman

Click on title for German original


Women’s Bashful Sex

I don’t like it when women take too long -
First, they deny their lust with lots of seething,
Then thirst for climax with all that heavy breathing
The lust I like is quickly filled, and comes on strong.

Women want the love act to be a fundamental change -
To the point of total distortion!  With bodies entwined
Men’s heads and women’s heads ought be assigned
To countries utterly remote and completely strange.

Too bashful to seize his flesh and hold on hard,     
Too great a desire to always be on guard,     
The measure of a women should be her lust.

Too lovely to bring herself to wait,       
Too insatiable not to eat the whole plate,  
A woman should relax and go for bust.   



Click on title for German original


Sonnet Nr. 11


Married Mens’ Pleasure

In women it’s the faithless I love best
They see I can’t stop looking at their thighs
And hide their brimful pussies from my eyes.
(Just to watch them fills me with a certain zest).

With the taste of another man on her lips
She feels compelled to put me in a horny mood
Laughs at me through those lips, so sly and lewd
The sense of a previous dick stuck in her cold hips!

As I watch her and do not move a limb,   
Left chewing on the table scraps of her lust,
She turns my sexual appetite to disgust.   

As I write this desire still fills me to the brim!
(Though this lust might turn out an expensive kind,
Were my lady friends ever to read these lines.)


Married men

Click on title for German original


Sonnet 12


Concerning the Lover

Let us admit that our flesh is - alas - too weak.
Since I slept with the wife of my best friend,
I avoid my room. My sleep is poor and I also tend
to be listen hard for even the slightest squeak.

The reason being - my room abuts their bedroom:
We share a common wall.  And  that’s what galls
Me so completely: I can hear it when he balls
Her, and absent that, silence brings on total gloom..

It all starts in the evening over a bottle or two of wine,
When I notice how my friend puts his cigarettes away,
And how when he looks at her, his eyes begin to shine.

So I fill her glass again and again, as if to sway  
Her to keep drinking, despite her best intention,  
So that at night, she won’t have to pay attention.



the Lover

Click on title for German original


Sonnet Nr. 15


On the Use of Crude Language

Immoderate by nature, I live a modest life
So permit me, friends, to give you some advice.  
In using crude words, you should think twice:
Besides being blatant, they’re cheap and rife.

Words can raise excitement when you’re randy.        
The word screwing even makes the screwer glad         
The guy who bandies with this word to sound bad,          Should go jerk off on some mattress he has handy.

Pure screwers should be thrown in front of trains.                 
If some broad comes all over them, that’s fine.     
No earthly waters can begin to clean such swine.

But don’t go rinsing out a man’s imagination.        
The art of men is to screw and use their brains.  
(And their luxury is - to laugh at the entire situation.)





bottom of page