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Best Famous Bertolt Brecht Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Bertolt Brecht poems. This is a select list of the best famous Bertolt Brecht poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Bertolt Brecht poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Bertolt Brecht poems.

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by Bertolt Brecht | |

Elogio al Aprendizaje

¡Aprende las cosas elementarias!
¡Para aquellos a quienes les ha llegado la hora nunca es demasadio tarde!
Aprende el abecedario.
No bastará, ¡pero apréndolo! ¡No dejes que te desanimen! ¡Comienza! Debes saber todo.
Tienes que ser dirigente.
¡Aprende, hombre en el asilo! ¡Aprende, hombre en la prisión! ¡Aprende, mujer en la cocina! ¡Aprende, tú que tienes 60 años! Tienes que ser dirigente.
¡Busca la esquela, tú que no tienes casa! ¡No tengas miedo de preguntar, camarada! No dejes que te induzcan a nada.
¡Investiga por ti mismo! Lo que no sepas tú mismo no lo conoces.
Examina los detalles a fondo; eres tú él que paga las consequencias.
Pon tu dedo en cada detalle, pregunta: ¿Cómo llegó esto aqui? Tienes que ser dirigente.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Parting

 AS from our dream we died away
Far off I felt the outer things;
Your wind-blown tresses round me play,
Your bosom’s gentle murmurings.
And far away our faces met As on the verge of the vast spheres; And in the night our cheeks were wet, I could not say with dew or tears.
As one within the Mother’s heart In that hushed dream upon the height We lived, and then we rose to part, Because her ways are infinite.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Parting

 How I have felt that thing that's called 'to part',
and feel it still: a dark, invincible,
cruel something by which what was joined so well
is once more shown, held out, and torn apart.
In what defenceless gaze at that I've stood, which, as it, calling to me, let me go, stayed there, as though it were all womanhood, yet small and white and nothing more than, oh, waving, now already unrelated to me, a sight, continuing wave,--scarce now explainable: perhaps a plum-tree bough some perchinig cuckoo's hastily vacated.


More great poems below...

by Bertolt Brecht | |

The Mask Of Evil

 On my wall hangs a Japanese carving,
The mask of an evil demon, decorated with gold lacquer.
Sympathetically I observe The swollen veins of the forehead, indicating What a strain it is to be evil.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

My young son asks me...

 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!


by Bertolt Brecht | |

How Fortunate The Man With None

 You saw sagacious Solomon
You know what came of him,
To him complexities seemed plain.
He cursed the hour that gave birth to him And saw that everything was vain.
How great and wise was Solomon.
The world however did not wait But soon observed what followed on.
It's wisdom that had brought him to this state.
How fortunate the man with none.
You saw courageous Caesar next You know what he became.
They deified him in his life Then had him murdered just the same.
And as they raised the fatal knife How loud he cried: you too my son! The world however did not wait But soon observed what followed on.
It's courage that had brought him to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.
You heard of honest Socrates The man who never lied: They weren't so grateful as you'd think Instead the rulers fixed to have him tried And handed him the poisoned drink.
How honest was the people's noble son.
The world however did not wait But soon observed what followed on.
It's honesty that brought him to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.
Here you can see respectable folk Keeping to God's own laws.
So far he hasn't taken heed.
You who sit safe and warm indoors Help to relieve our bitter need.
How virtuously we had begun.
The world however did not wait But soon observed what followed on.
It's fear of god that brought us to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

What Has Happened?

 The industrialist is having his aeroplane serviced.
The priest is wondering what he said in his sermon eight weeks ago about tithes.
The generals are putting on civvies and looking like bank clerks.
Public officials are getting friendly.
The policeman points out the way to the man in the cloth cap.
The landlord comes to see whether the water supply is working.
The journalists write the word People with capital letters.
The singers sing at the opera for nothing.
Ships' captains check the food in the crew's galley, Car owners get in beside their chauffeurs.
Doctors sue the insurance companies.
Scholars show their discoveries and hide their decorations.
Farmers deliver potatoes to the barracks.
The revolution has won its first battle: That's what has happened.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

O Germany Pale Mother!

 Let others speak of her shame,
I speak of my own.
O Germany, pale mother! How soiled you are As you sit among the peoples.
You flaunt yourself Among the besmirched.
The poorest of your sons Lies struck down.
When his hunger was great.
Your other sons Raised their hands against him.
This is notorious.
With their hands thus raised, Raised against their brother, They march insolently around you And laugh in your face.
This is well known.
In your house Lies are roared aloud.
But the truth Must be silent.
Is it so? Why do the oppressors praise you everywhere, The oppressed accuse you? The plundered Point to you with their fingers, but The plunderer praises the system That was invented in your house! Whereupon everyone sees you Hiding the hem of your mantle which is bloody With the blood Of your best sons.
Hearing the harangues which echo from your house, men laugh.
But whoever sees you reaches for a knife As at the approach of a robber.
O Germany, pale mother! How have your sons arrayed you That you sit among the peoples A thing of scorn and fear!


by Bertolt Brecht | |

To Those Born After

 To the cities I came in a time of disorder
That was ruled by hunger.
I sheltered with the people in a time of uproar And then I joined in their rebellion.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.
I ate my dinners between the battles, I lay down to sleep among the murderers, I didn't care for much for love And for nature's beauties I had little patience.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.
The city streets all led to foul swamps in my time, My speech betrayed me to the butchers.
I could do only little But without me those that ruled could not sleep so easily: That's what I hoped.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.
Our forces were slight and small, Our goal lay in the far distance Clearly in our sights, If for me myself beyond my reaching.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.
II You who will come to the surface From the flood that's overwhelmed us and drowned us all Must think, when you speak of our weakness in times of darkness That you've not had to face: Days when we were used to changing countries More often than shoes, Through the war of the classes despairing That there was only injustice and no outrage.
Even so we realised Hatred of oppression still distorts the features, Anger at injustice still makes voices raised and ugly.
Oh we, who wished to lay for the foundations for peace and friendliness, Could never be friendly ourselves.
And in the future when no longer Do human beings still treat themselves as animals, Look back on us with indulgence.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Alabama Song

 Show me the way to the next whisky bar
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
Show me the way to the next whisky bar
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
For if we don't find the next whisky bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh, moon of Alabama
We now must say say good-bye
We've lost our good old mamma
And must have whisky
Oh, you know why.
Show me the way to the next pretty girl Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why Show me the way to the next pretty girl Oh don't ask why, oh, don't ask why For if we don't find the next pretty girl I tell you we must die I tell you we must die I tell you I tell you I tell you we must die Oh, moon of Alabama We now must say good-bye We've lost our good old mamma And must have a girl Oh, you know why.
Show me the way to the next little dollar Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why Show me the way to the next little dollar Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why For if we don't find the next little dollar I tell you we must die I tell you we must die I tell you I tell you I tell you we must die Oh, moon of Alabama We now must say good-bye We've lost our good old mamma And must have dollars Oh, you know why.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

On The Critical Attitude

 The critical attitude
Strikes many people as unfruitful
That is because they find the state
Impervious to their criticism
But what in this case is an unfruitful attitude
Is merely a feeble attitude.
Give criticism arms And states can be demolished by it.
Canalising a river Grafting a fruit tree Educating a person Transforming a state These are instances of fruitful criticism And at the same time instances of art.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Contemplating Hell

 Contemplating Hell, as I once heard it,
My brother Shelley found it to be a place
Much like the city of London.
I, Who do not live in London, but in Los Angeles, Find, contemplating Hell, that is Must be even more like Los Angeles.
Also in Hell, I do not doubt it, there exist these opulent gardens With flowers as large as trees, wilting, of course, Very quickly, if they are not watered with very expensive water.
And fruit markets With great leaps of fruit, which nonetheless Possess neither scent nor taste.
And endless trains of autos, Lighter than their own shadows, swifter than Foolish thoughts, shimmering vehicles, in which Rosy people, coming from nowhere, go nowhere.
And houses, designed for happiness, standing empty, Even when inhabited.
Even the houses in Hell are not all ugly.
But concern about being thrown into the street Consumes the inhabitants of the villas no less Than the inhabitants of the barracks.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Radio Poem

 You little box, held to me escaping
So that your valves should not break
Carried from house to house to ship from sail to train,
So that my enemies might go on talking to me,
Near my bed, to my pain
The last thing at night, the first thing in the morning,
Of their victories and of my cares,
Promise me not to go silent all of a sudden.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

The Solution

 After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.
Would it not be easier In that case for the government To dissolve the people And elect another?


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Mack The Knife

 Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear
And he shows them pearly white.
Just a jack knife has Macheath, dear And he keeps it out of sight.
When the shark bites with his teeth, dear Scarlet billows start to spread.
Fancy gloves, though, wears Macheath, dear So there's not a trace of red.
On the side-walk Sunday morning Lies a body oozing life; Someone's sneaking 'round the corner.
Is that someone Mack the Knife? From a tugboat by the river A cement bag's dropping down; The cement's just for the weight, dear.
Bet you Mackie's back in town.
Louie Miller disappeared, dear After drawing out his cash; And Macheath spends like a sailor.
Did our boy do something rash? Sukey Tawdry, Jenny Diver, Polly Peachum, Lucy Brown Oh, the line forms on the right, dear Now that Mackie's back in town.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Questions From A Worker Who Reads

 Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock? And Babylon, many times demolished Who raised it up so many times? In what houses of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live? Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finnished Did the masons go? Great Rome Is full of triumphal arches.
Who erected them? Over whom Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song Only palaces for its inhabitans? Even in fabled Atlantis The night the ocean engulfed it The drowning still bawled for their slaves.
The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone? Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him? Philip of Spain wept when his armada Went down.
Was he the only one to weep? Frederick the Second won the Seven Year's War.
Who Else won it? Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors? Every ten years a great man? Who paid the bill? So many reports.
So many questions.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Not What Was Meant

 When the Academy of Arts demanded freedom
Of artistic expression from narrow-minded bureaucrats
There was a howl and a clamour in its immediate vicinity
But roaring above everything
Came a deafening thunder of applause
From beyond the Sector boundary.
Freedom! it roared.
Freedom for the artists! Freedom all round! Freedom for all! Freedom for the exploiters! Freedom for the warmongers! Freedom for the Ruhr cartels! Freedom for Hitler's generals! Softly, my dear fellows.
.
.
The Judas kiss for the artists follows Hard on the Judas kiss for the workers.
The arsonist with his bottle of petrol Sneaks up grinning to The Academy of Arts.
But it was not to embrace him, just To knock the bottle out of his dirty hand that We asked for elbow room.
Even the narrowest minds In which peace is harboured Are more welcome to the arts than the art lover Who is also a lover of the art of war.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

To The Students Of The Workers And Peasants Faculty

 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! 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.
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 to learn for what.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Solidarity Song

 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.
Forward, without forgetting Where our strength can be seen now to be! When starving or when eating Forward, not forgetting Our solidarity! Black or white or brown or yellow Leave your old disputes behind.
Once start talking with your fellow Men, you'll soon be of one mind.
Forward, without forgetting Where our strength can be seen now to be! When starving or when eating Forward, not forgetting Our solidarity! If we want to make this certain We'll need you and your support.
It's yourselves you'll be deserting if you rat your own sort.
Forward, without forgetting Where our strength can be seen now to be! When starving or when eating Forward, not forgetting Our solidarity! 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.
Forward, without forgetting Where our strength can be seen now to be! When starving or when eating Forward, not forgetting Our solidarity! Workers of the world, uniting Thats the way to lose your chains.
Mighty regiments now are fighting That no tyrrany 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?


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Send Me A Leaf

 Send me a leaf, but from a bush
That grows at least one half hour
Away from your house, then
You must go and will be strong, and I
Thank you for the pretty leaf.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

I Never Loved You More

 I never loved you more, ma soeur
Than as I walked away from you that evening.
The forest swallowed me, the blue forest, ma soeur The blue forest and above it pale stars in the west.
I did not laugh, not one little bit, ma soeur As I playfully walked towards a dark fate-- While the faces behind me Slowly paled in the evening of the blue forest.
Everything was grand that one night, ma soeur Never thereafter and never before-- I admit it: I was left with nothing but the big birds And their hungry cries in the dark evening sky.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

Parting

 We embrace.
Rich cloth under my fingers While yours touch poor fabric.
A quick embrace You were invited for dinner While the minions of law are after me.
We talk about the weather and our Lasting friendship.
Anything else Would be too bitter.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

To read in the morning and at night...

 Morgens und abends zu lesen
Der, den ich liebe
Hat mir gesagt
Da? er mich braucht.
Darum Gebe ich auf mich acht Sehe auf meinen Weg und Fürchte von jedem Regentropfen Da? er mich erschlagen könnte.
[Translation] To read in the morning and at night My love Has told me That he needs me.
That's why I take good care of myself Watch out where I'm going and Fear that any drop of rain Might kill me.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

United Front Song

 And because a man is human
He'll want to eat, and thanks a lot
But talk can't take the place of meat
or fill an empty pot.
So left, two, three! So left, two, three! Comrade, there's a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front For you are a worker too.
And because a man is human he won't care for a kick in the face.
He doesn't want slaves under him Or above him a ruling class.
So left, two, three! So left, two, three! Comrade, there's a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front For you are a worker too.
And because a worker's a worker No one else will bring him liberty.
It's nobody's work but the worker' own To set the worker free.
So left, two, three! So left, two, three! Comrade, there's a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front For you are a worker too.


by Bertolt Brecht | |

On Reading A Recent Greek Poet

 After the wailing had already begun
along the walls, their ruin certain,
the Trojans fidgeted with bits of wood
in the three-ply doors, itsy-bitsy
pieces of wood, fussing with them.
And began to get their nerve back and feel hopeful.