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Carina Apr 17
your eyes touched me
before they even knew
what they wanted

they carved your desires into me
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
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
Karen M Jun 2019
Xylographed initials made by lovers over
Yonder in the suburb parks where the human
Zoo keeps them under watchful eyes.
The last 3 lines of an A to Z poem I'm working on.
stopdoopy Oct 2018
It burns like an acid,

these hot tears,

Tearing through my skin.

The inside of my chest shredded,

And it's your hand this time,

That holds the carving knife.

Through it all, I hear a pounding-

                                          It's my hand on the table.
                                          As some tune's stuck in my head.
                                          I look around at all my friends,
                                          Grins and smiles a blaze by the fire.
                                          And for the first time in a long while,
                                          I join in, and I'm okay.
Getting over people's a process, but it will happen for you; just as it has for me.

I love my friends
b Nov 2017
A dictionary in a bag of bricks.
I watch it sink down the swamp.
Words only mean what we do with them after,
So I never feast until I know there's dessert coming.

I am the stone before the statue.
A block of possibility.
Waiting for guidance like a wiseman,
From anyone that can convince me we're not all mad for trying.

I am the stone before the statue.
Waiting to be carved.
Waiting to be told who I am.
Yanamari Jan 2017
I found a carving made of wood
A carving I made and
Never really understood
The shape was awfully made
And yet at the time
Emitted an aura that felt good
The raw quality,
The way light fell on it,
At the time I could only think
The carving was perfect,
The way that it stood.

I found a wood carving that I hid
Away from my mind
So that I could bid
Farewell to the misplaced notches and indents
That surfaced on the carving.
Why did I leave pieces here
And cut off parts there?
What experience did I have in carving
Such an obscene piece?
Of myself, the carving, I would rid
But if only I could
Forget what I did
What I carved
What I was amid
But I cannot

The reason I didn't understand
The decisions I made
Was because
I understood the decisions I made.
There are parts to this poem drafted in my mind and yet I carved them. I consider reattaching them but what effect will that have to my misshapen poem?
Elaina Jan 2013
Wind shapes open land
Carving its own signature
Painting on canvas
E Townsend Nov 2015
How do I get a carving out of a tree?
The smug shape of your G+E
outlines with a stupid, misshaped heart
etched into the evergreen.
You ruined my favorite tree
with five words.
A sentence I knew you would inevitably say
at some point of our lives together.
I really wanted to doubt myself for once,
and be proved wrong in the right way.
But you just had to keep me incorrect.

I call the local lumberjack and ask him,
"Cut down the tree as soon as possible."
I think that's how you get a carving out of a tree.
"I don't love you anymore."
Paul Rousseau Oct 2015
We've taken you from your home. Lush in line, your twins and elders, taken.
You lost connection to the Nexus, put on display with porous candied paper messengers and the consumers of blood, perched from the ceiling by invisible lineage.
We have taken you. We're sorry. We lament. We trade small goods to take you, but its easy.
We take the tools too. The serration, the sadism, newspaper mat lobotomy.
We lament. We are sorry.
We lament and cut sad faces. We cut the undead that spawn from the soil and ****** your innards into the hot room. We are sorry. We too spawn from soil. You feel you've lost connection to the Nexus- with the stringy appendages of chilled gore.
We've taken your insides and given you a new face.
We are sorry.
Kudos to Brian Oliu, who inspired this...thing.
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