Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poem: A Worker Reads History

A Worker Reads History   (1936)

By Bertolt Brecht   (1898 – 1956)


Who built the seven gates of Thebes?

The books are filled with names of kings.

Was it kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?

And Babylon, so many times destroyed,

Who built the city up each time?  In which of Lima’s houses, 5

That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?

In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished

Where did the masons go?  Imperial Rome

Is full of arcs of triumph.  Who reared them up?   Over whom

Did the Caesars triumph?  Byzantium lives in song, 10

Were all her dwellings palaces?  And even in Atlantis of the legend

The night the sea rushed in,

The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.

He alone? 15

Caesar beat the Gauls.

Was there not even a cook in his army?

Philip of Spain wept as his fleet

Was sunk and destroyed.  Were there no other tears?

Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.  Who 20

Triumphed with him?

Each page a victory,

At whose expense the victory ball?

Every ten years a great man,

Who paid the piper? 25

So many particulars.

So many questions.

1 comment:

Nomes said...

Hi Neets.

This is in response to your sleep paralysis comment, left on someone else's blog some time ago.

I just had one of these. Have you had another? The reason I'm writing to you, is because you're the only one who mentioned hearing noises, like a mans voice (only for me, it was like a voice muffled by nitrous oxide, like talking though some electronic tunnel) and feeling an intense rush of heat through your body after waking (I swear, the backs of my les were sweating).

My email address is Eurygnomes at gmail, and id love to hear from you.

Take care,