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Alexander Albrecht
29/M/Minneapolis    Stories take time to unfold. We deserve to be moved by more than force alone... I mostly write pop-punk and post-hardcore lyrics; so yeah, my ...
Farai Engelbrecht
altered and burdened by time & new memories.

Poems

Die Maske des Bösen (“The Mask of Evil”)
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A Japanese woodcarving hangs on my wall—
the mask of an ancient demon, limned with golden lacquer.
Not unsympathetically, I observe
the forehead’s bulging veins,
the strain
such malevolence requires.

Original German text:

Die Maske des Bösen

An meiner Wand hängt ein japanisches Holzwerk
Maske eines bösen Dämons, bemalt mit Goldlack.
Mitfühlend sehe ich
Die geschwollenen Stirnadern, andeutend
Wie anstrengend es ist, böse zu sein.

Bertolt Brecht [1898-1956] was a major German poet, playwright, novelist, humorist, essayist, theater director and songwriter. Brecht fled Germany in 1933, when ****** assumed power. A number of Brecht's poems were written from the perspective of a man who sees his country becoming increasingly fascist, xenophobic and militaristic. Keywords/Tags: Bertolt Brecht, German, translation, Holocaust, poem, Japanese, carving, mask, demon, evil, malevolence, sympathy, compassion, understanding, feeling, forehead, veins, swollen, bulging, effort, strain, exhausting, concentration, suggest, suggesting, suggestive, demonstrating, revealing, showing, wall, gold, golden, lacquer, paint, woodwork, totem, malice, hatred, enmity, spite, spitefulness, animosity, anger, maliciousness, malignancy, venom, spleen, viciousness
Bertolt, Brecht, German, translation, Holocaust, poem, Japanese, carving, mask, demon, evil, malevolence
Die Bücherverbrennung ("The Burning of the Books")
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he’d been excluded!

He rushed to his desk, full of contemptuous wrath,
to write fiery letters to the incompetents in power —
Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen —
Haven’t I always reported the truth?
Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
Burn me!

German text:

Die Bücherverbrennung

Als das Regime befahl, Bücher mit schädlichem Wissen
Öffentlich zu verbrennen, und allenthalben
Ochsen gezwungen wurden, Karren mit Büchern
Zu den Scheiterhaufen zu ziehen, entdeckte
Ein verjagter Dichter, einer der besten, die Liste der
Verbrannten studierend, entsetzt, daß seine
Bücher vergessen waren. Er eilte zum Schreibtisch
Zornbeflügelt, und schrieb einen Brief an die Machthaber.
Verbrennt mich! schrieb er mit fliegender Feder, verbrennt mich!
Tut mir das nicht an! Laßt mich nicht übrig! Habe ich nicht
Immer die Wahrheit berichtet in meinen Büchern? Und jetzt
Werd ich von euch wie ein Lügner behandelt! Ich befehle euch:
Verbrennt mich!

Published by Poetry Super Highway, The Hindu, The Tory, Chicago Sun-Times (excerpt), Poemist, Poetry on Demand and Convivium

Keywords/Tags: Bertolt Brecht, German, translation, burning, books, banned, harmful, unlawful, ****, regime, fires, bonfires, oxen, carts, cartloads, Adolph ******, writer, writers, excommunicated, exiled, burn, truth, pen, blazing, fiery, liar
The Mask of Evil
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A Japanese carving hangs on my wall –
the mask of an ancient demon, limned with golden lacquer.
Not altogether unsympathetically, I observe
its forehead’s bulging veins, noting
the tremendous effort such malevolence requires.

Keywords/Tags: Bertolt Brecht, German, translation, Holocaust poem, mask, evil, Japanese, carving, demon, totem, forehead, veins, bulging, effort, concentration, focus, malevolence, malice, hatred, enmity, spite, spitefulness, animosity, maliciousness, malignance, venom, spleen, viciousness