Bertolt Brecht: ‘I Came Among Men in a Time of Uprising’

Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht

An excerpt from Bertolt Brecht’s “To Posterity” (1939). Thanks to Mennonite Vietnam war draft resister Duane Shank for reminding me of this poem:

 

 

 

…2.

I came to the cities in a time of disorder
When hunger ruled.
I came among men in a time of uprising
And I revolted with them.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.

I ate my food between massacres.
The shadow of murder lay upon my sleep.
And when I loved, I loved with indifference.
I looked upon nature with impatience.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.

In my time streets led to the quicksand.
Speech betrayed me to the slaughterer.
There was little I could do. But without me
The rulers would have been more secure. This was my hope.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me. … –Bertolt Brecht

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