Thursday, March 08, 2007

Brecht sums up my reflections on the near completion of my degree


To The Students Of The Workers’ And Peasants’ Faculty

1
So there you sit. And how much blood was shed
That you might sit there. Do such stories bore you?
Well, don’t forget that others sat before you
Who later sat on people. Keep your head!

2
Your science will be valueless, you’ll find
And learning will be sterile, if inviting
Unless you pledge your intellect to fighting
Against all enemies of all mankind.

3
Never forget that men like you got hurt
That you might sit here, not the other lot.
And now don’t shut your eyes, and don’t desert
But learn to learn, and try and learn for what.


A Worker’s Speech To A Doctor

We know what makes us ill.
When we are ill we are told
That it’s you who will heal us.

For ten years, we are told
You learned healing in fine schools
Built at the people’s expense
And to get your knowledge
Spent a fortune.
So you must be able to heal.

Are you able to heal?

When we come to you
Our rags are torn off us
And you listen all over our naked body.
As to the cause of our illness
One glance at our rags would
Tell you more. It is the same cause that wears out
Our bodies and our clothes.

The pain in our shoulder comes
You say, from the damp; and this is also the reason
For the stain on the wall of our flat.
So tell us:
Where does the damp come from?

Too much work and too little food
Makes us feeble and thin.
Your prescription says:
Put on more weight.
You might as well tell a bullrush
Not to get wet.

How much time can you give us?
We see: one carpet in your flat costs
The fees you earn from
Five thousand consultations.

You’ll no doubt say
You are innocent. The damp patch
On the wall of our flat
Tells the same story.

- Bertolt Brecht

1 comment:

Nisha said...

Yooowwww. Yes very depressingly good stuff. But he also wrote Mack the Knife! One evening I sat and listened to four versions of it.