To Those Born After Poem by Bertolt Brecht

To Those Born After

Rating: 4.8


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.


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.

Sylvia Frances Chan 10 August 2023

TWO: a period he referred to repeatedly as 'the dark times.' From the perspective of this time of desperation and despair Brecht imagined in his poem a different future, a time when 'man would be a helper to man' and therewith he imagined a future public -- and purpose -- for his writings.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 10 August 2023

ONE: To Those Born After' takes its inspiration from a poem by the same title by the German writer Bertolt Brecht. Brecht wrote his poem in the late 1930s,

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Stephen Olszewski 04 December 2018

The first verse is missing from this poem. It begins: 1 Truly, I live in dark times! A trusting world is folly. A smooth brow A sign of insensitivity. The man who laughs Has simply not heard The terrifying news full text won't fit into comment box

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A Waltz For Zizi 05 February 2014

Wonderful poem.........

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