Two Poems by Bertolt Brecht
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?
AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT
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
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.)