Questions From a Worker Who Reads
While studying for my historical theory class during my lunch hour today, I came across this treasure from Bertold Brecht (1898-1956). Brecht was a Marxist poet, playwright, and theatre director, who often used poetry and the theatre to express his political ideology. This poem, written in 1935, is a wonderful example of not only Marxist history, but of People’s history as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Without further adieu, I share with you:
Questions From a Worker Who Reads.
Who built Thebes of the 7 gates ?
In the books you will read the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock ?
And Babylon, many times demolished,
Who raised it up so many times ?
In what houses of gold glittering Lima did its builders live ?
Where, the evening that the Great Wall of China was finished, did the masons go?
Great Rome is full of triumphal arches.
Who erected them ?
Over whom did the Caesars triumph ?
Had Byzantium, much praised in song, only palaces for its inhabitants ?
Even in fabled Atlantis, the night that the ocean engulfed it,
The drowning still cried out for their slaves.
The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone ?
Caesar defeated the Gauls.
Did he not even have a cook with him ?
Philip of Spain wept when his armada went down.
Was he the only one to weep ?
Frederick the 2nd won the 7 Years War.
Who else won it ?
Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors ?
Every 10 years a great man.
Who paid the bill ?
So many reports.
So many questions.
- Bertolt Brecht: Questions from a Worker Who Reads (delong.typepad.com)