Sunday, November 24, 2019

Bertolt Brecht, "Not That I Didn't Always"

Not that I didn’t always have the very best of intentions
An undue fondness for tobacco is perhaps the one fault I could mention
Or that I didn’t perhaps get upset when it was much too late to be
And Müllereisert always said: come on, stop all that sipping of thin tea.
But my principle was: anyone can run into luck, you just mustn’t run away
And suddenly it turned out I’d written a real play.

I’d hardly noticed a thing, it had just sort of slid out
Matters of principle have always given me a lot to worry about
For me everything started with principles, I’d say
Tobacco, for instance, as well as my taste for liquor
I really did want to keep quiet at first, but I gave myself away
And Orge said: well, it’s not going to get better any quicker
Best thing would be to finish yourself off now with a bullet
Rather than suffer at length, or however the consolatory phrases put it.

And now almost every week I write one
It tastes like soft-boiled eggs in a glass
I know that one is more than none
But I think it’s all tied up with my aquilline nose, you know
And you just can’t do anything about it - that was proved long ago
And I too was born to rise to the highest positions.
Orge once inadvertently let drop the view:
You used to have the makings of a tiger in you
But you had better say goodbye to such ambitions.

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Maira Gall