Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
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

Bertolt Brecht Epigrams and Quotations

These are my modern English translations of epigrams and quotations by Bertolt Brecht.

Everyone chases the way happiness feels,
unaware how it nips at their heels.
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The world of learning takes a crazy turn
when teachers are taught to discern!
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unhappy, the land that lacks heroes.
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hungry man, reach for the book:
it's a hook,
a harpoon.
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because things are the way they are,
things can never stay as they were.
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

War is like love; true ...
it finds a way through.
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What happens to the hole
when the cheese is no longer whole?
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is easier to rob by setting up a bank
than by threatening the poor clerk.
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Do not fear death so much, or strife,
but rather fear the inadequate life.
— loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: Bertolt Brecht, translation, translations, German,  modern English, epigram, epigrams, quote, quotes, quotations
Middy Oct 2017
I'm in a forest
A huge winding forest
One that twists your mind
One that makes you wonder
Where you must go
And I'm lost in this forest
This deep and lonely forest
Almost dark and lonely as me

I give up finding my way out
I pitch my tent
I gather wood and light a match

It's a simple spark
Barely lighting the dark
But it makes me warm inside
Soon I am surrounded by warmth
More warmth than before

The wolves howl along
To my silent songs and hums
Owls hoot and fireflies flicker
All dancing along to the tune
The flames are lighting up the dark
And so are the fireflies
I'm not so alone anymore

The man in the moon
He's such a pale white
He gives such a nice glow
The children, the stars
They seem to be dancing too
They seem to be giggling with me

I sleep the darkness away
Morning comes
And I'm ready to face a new day
I love the night and nature. It's always calmed me and it never makes me lonely.
envydean Oct 2016
Warmth on his face
Burning on his knees
A gentle hand snaked around his waist
A touch so mild it’s barely there

Green eyes stare into the flames
He wished he didn’t have to remember
No one should have to remember flames
Engulfing their home and possessions
And their mother.

Fireworks crack over head
Blue eyes gaze at the colourful sparks
He remembers too
The day when the sky forgot to show them the stars
And showed them his brothers and sisters falling

Pulled close, they have each other
Tender touches, sparse words
Because they both remember
But they’re both still here
A human raised from hell
An angel fallen from heaven

Bent and a little crooked maybe
But still whole
Still family
Still together
written for the final SPN writing challenge with the prompt of "Bonfire". A little angsty but whatever; have some feels.
day dreamer Jan 2015
Sitting there under starry sky
The smell of burnt marshmallows 
The crackling of fire
The laughter and chatter
The sound of bottles clinking 
The feeling of being young forever
What a sight to behold
A picture worth keeping 
And then there's you
Hair messy, glasses askew
But still breathtaking 
And then I was confused
On which view was more beautiful
Stages and Ages Nov 2014
It was the summer of missed promises
And I tried so hard to make it up to you that year
But everything was different.
We couldn’t get back in the same rhythm
Because I’d hate to force it.

It was the summer of forgotten love letters
Because we never knew how to sign off.
They always ended up in empty desk drawers with “for sale” signs on them
Because we wanted them to be anonymous.

It was the summer of bonfires
And nostalgia
For a time when the only thing that made sense was your laugh and your hand in mine;
For a time when I had no idea what I really wanted,
Because all anybody’s given me was a broken heart.

It was the summer I dared to look in my high school yearbook;
Crisscrossed with scribbled writing
In everybody’s haste attempt to sum up the four years I hated most.
I read them with tears in my eyes
And I’m sorry for that-
I’m usually not like that; regretting everything that didn’t happen between us

It was summer of drunken nights
In small attempts to erase you from my mind
It was the summer I realized
I may never see you again.

— The End —