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Two Poems by Bertolt Brecht

THE SOLUTION

After the uprising of the 17th June

The Secretary of the Writers’ Union

Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee

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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?

AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT

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And I always thought: the very simplest words

Must be enough. When I say what things are like

Everyone’s heart must be torn to shreds.

That you’ll go down if you don’t stand up for yourself

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Surely you see that.

From “Bertolt Brecht Poems 1913-1956,” edited by John Willett and Ralph Manheim with the cooperation of Erich Fried (Methuen: 628 pp.)


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