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Diverse poems, musings, and poems from works of the period.

Brecht at work with Paul Dessau, the composer to whom he turned after

his relationship with Kurt Weil proved untenable.

new ages

Click on title for German original

Love Lessons

But, my girl, here’s what I’d say -
Mix allure with all that squeaking:
While I love your soul  in a carnal way
Soulfully,  it’s your flesh I’m seeking.

Chasteness can not lessen lust,
Hungry, I would eat my fill.
In asses virtue is a must,   
And in a virtuous ass, it’s skill.

Since Zeus rode the swan that day
Many a girl’s been filled with fear
And though she enjoyed it - in a way,
Her swansong’s what he longed to hear.   

(1945) This poem was written for a planned but never realized opera that Brecht collaborated on with the composer Paul Dessau,  Die Reisen des Glücksgotts,

(The Travels of the God of Good Fortune).

love lessons

Click on title for German original

The New Ages

New ages do not begin all at once.
My grandfather already lived in the new age
My grandson will probably live in the old one.

New meat is eaten with old forks.

Robotic vehicles were not
Of the new age,
Nor the tanks
Nor the planes over our roofs,
Nor the bombers.

The new antennae transmitted the old stupidities
Wisdom was passed on from mouth to mouth.

(About 1943)

Click on title for German original

How many regard us

Many regard us as if we were forcing ourselves
To the most remote and rarified tasks,
Straining ourselves for arcane assignments
To test our powers or demonstrate our proficiency.
But in reality, those who see us more clearly,
See we are simply doing what is unavoidable:
Proceeding straightforwardly, to overcome
The hindrances of the day, avoid ideas that
Had bad consequences, and spot the favorable ones:
In effect, make way for the droplet in the river
That finds its way through the churning boulders.



Many regard us
Joy of beginning!

Click on title for German original

The Joy of Beginning

Oh the joy of beginning! Oh early morning!
The first grass, when we seem to have forgotten
The color green. Oh, the first page of a book,
Long anticipated, utterly surprising! Read it

Slowly, since all too quickly
The un-read portion grows thin! And the first splash
Of water on my sweat-drenched face! A fresh,
Cool shirt! Oh, the beginning of work! Filling oil

Into the cold engine! The first try and the first hum
Of the motor springing into action! And the first drag
Of tobacco that fills the lungs! And oh, you,
You new thought, new idea!



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