The Burning of The Books

The Burning of The Books

When the Regime ordered that the books with dangerous teachings

should be publicly burnt and everywhere

Oxen were forced to draw carts full of books

To the funeral pyre, an old poet, one of the best,

Discovered with fury when he studied the list

Of the burned, that his own books

Had been forgotten. He rushed to his writing table

On wings of anger and wrote a letter to those in power.

Burn me, he wrote with hurrying pen, burn me!

Do not treat me in this fashion. Don’t leave me out. Have I not

Always taught truth in my books? And now

You treat me like a liar! I order you :

Burn me!

~ Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

Translated by H. R. Hays ( From Svenborger Gedichte )

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