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Der Abschied (“The Parting”)
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We embrace;
my fingers trace
rich cloth
while yours encounter only moth-
eaten fabric.
A quick hug:
you were invited to the gay soiree
while the minions of the "law" relentlessly pursue me.
We talk about the weather
and our eternal friendship's magic.
Anything else would be too bitter,
too tragic.

German text:

Der Abschied

Wir umarmen uns.
Ich fasse reichen Stoff
Du fassest armen.
Die Umarmung ist schnell
Du gehst zu einem Mahl
Hinter mir sind die Schergen.
Wir sprechen vom Wetter und von unserer
Dauernden Freundschaft. Alles andere
Wäre zu bitter.

Published by Poetry on Demand, The HyperTexts and Ghani Project

Keywords/Tags: Bertolt Brecht, German, translation, parting, farewell, ****, law, minions, henchmen, thugs, pursuit, chase, embrace, hug, rich, cloth, threadbare, soiree, dinner, meal, event, eternal, friendship, bitter, weather, exile
Kitts Apr 2015
Gray flesh sown and stitched to blue flesh
Staples reflect the silvery moonlight
The professor scurries about like a crab around the massive human-like Creature on the cold metal slab
The monster isn't alive, not yet anyway
The professor is hurrying now
To make sure everything is perfect before the time comes
Wires and cables run from the monsters flesh to an assortment of Machines that whirl and flash with color
The machines look like monsters themselves, far more scary then the one on the operating table...
The professor, my master, says that this HAS to work...
I do not doubt my masters genius
But I fear the monster I helped him build
From bodies we stole from the morgue where the professor works
He says that if it works he will make more
I do not understand how the machines, lighting and moonlight and all that complicated things work
My mind is too simple for such things
I simply serve my master and do what he asks
The monster will be my masters greatest achievement
The greatest achievement science has ever seen!
I know I won't be remembered, my role is too simple for that
It will not be written down how I cut up those smelly corpses
And sown the dead flesh together to make something new
It will not be written how cold it is to sleep on the uneven castle floor With no more then straw and a moth eaten blanket for warmth
No, it will not be written down that I was the one to pull the switch
No, I will not be remembered but the monster will be
The monster my master would not have been able to create without me
Me, his faithful servant
Me, his pitiful slave
Me, the sower of flesh and assistant of a mad man
A crazed genius, with skin as white as paper
And cold as ice, how my masters eyes almost glow as the time draws near
There is not trace of fear on my masters white face
With a wild grin that reveals his crooked tombstone like teeth
He commands me to do what all the others before me were born to do
I reach out my green/grayish hand and...
Obey... I pull the black cold lever with the red *** on top

The artificial lighting flashes!
The moonlight quivers!
The machines scream as if alive, as if in pain!

The monster writhes and convulses with life
Suddenly as if someone had turned a switch everything dies
The machines the artificial lighting even the moonlight is gone
Pure darkness, solid almost tangible blackness
And just as quickly as it had left all the light and noise came back
And there strapped to the cold metal slab
The monster lay still
The defeat,
The utter hopelessness,
The grief that now was etched so deeply in my beloved masters pale face broke my simple heart
And as I was about to take a step towards my master
Something, I don't know what made me look towards the monster

The monster opened his eyes...

— The End —