Bertolt Brecht

(10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956 / Augsburg)

My young son asks me...


My young son asks me: Must I learn mathematics?
What is the use, I feel like saying. That two pieces
Of bread are more than one's about all you'll end up with.
My young son asks me: Must I learn French?
What is the use, I feel like saying. This State's collapsing.
And if you just rub your belly with your hand and
Groan, you'll be understood with little trouble.
My young son asks me: Must I learn history?
What is the use, I feel like saying. Learn to stick
Your head in the earth, and maybe you'll still survive.

Yes, learn mathematics, I tell him.
Learn your French, learn your history!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about this poem (My young son asks me... by Bertolt Brecht )

  • Rookie Andrew Hoellering (12/2/2009 6:50:00 PM)

    Brecht is right.Knowing these subjects isn't going to guarantee survival of the species, but then what is? Like Father Christmas, adults are sometimes dubious about what we are expected to pass on to the next generation, but we do so because we have nothing better to put in its place.Any improvement should be welcome. (Report) Reply

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