War Poems - Poems For War - From A German War Primer

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From A German War Primer - Poem by Bertolt Brecht

AMONGST THE HIGHLY PLACED
It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is: they have
Already eaten.

The lowly must leave this earth
Without having tasted
Any good meat.

For wondering where they come from and
Where they are going
The fine evenings find them
Too exhausted.

They have not yet seen
The mountains and the great sea
When their time is already up.

If the lowly do not
Think about what's low
They will never rise.

THE BREAD OF THE HUNGRY HAS
ALL BEEN EATEN
Meat has become unknown. Useless
The pouring out of the people's sweat.
The laurel groves have been
Lopped down.
From the chimneys of the arms factories
Rises smoke.

THE HOUSE-PAINTER SPEAKS OF
GREAT TIMES TO COME
The forests still grow.
The fields still bear
The cities still stand.
The people still breathe.

ON THE CALENDAR THE DAY IS NOT
YET SHOWN
Every month, every day
Lies open still. One of those days
Is going to be marked with a cross.

THE WORKERS CRY OUT FOR BREAD
The merchants cry out for markets.
The unemployed were hungry. The employed
Are hungry now.
The hands that lay folded are busy again.
They are making shells.

THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.

WHEN THE LEADERS SPEAK OF PEACE
The common folk know
That war is coming.
When the leaders curse war
The mobilization order is already written out.

THOSE AT THE TOP SAY: PEACE
AND WAR
Are of different substance.
But their peace and their war
Are like wind and storm.

War grows from their peace
Like son from his mother
He bears
Her frightful features.

Their war kills
Whatever their peace
Has left over.

ON THE WALL WAS CHALKED:
They want war.
The man who wrote it
Has already fallen.

THOSE AT THE TOP SAY:
This way to glory.
Those down below say:
This way to the grave.

THE WAR WHICH IS COMING
Is not the first one. There were
Other wars before it.
When the last one came to an end
There were conquerors and conquered.
Among the conquered the common people
Starved. Among the conquerors
The common people starved too.

THOSE AT THE TOP SAY COMRADESHIP
Reigns in the army.
The truth of this is seen
In the cookhouse.
In their hearts should be
The selfsame courage. But
On their plates
Are two kinds of rations.

WHEN IT COMES TO MARCHING MANY DO NOT
KNOW
That their enemy is marching at their head.
The voice which gives them their orders
Is their enemy's voice and
The man who speaks of the enemy
Is the enemy himself.

IT IS NIGHT
The married couples
Lie in their beds. The young women
Will bear orphans.

GENERAL, YOUR TANK IS A POWERFUL VEHICLE
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.


Comments about From A German War Primer by Bertolt Brecht

  • Gold Star - 7,016 Points Dutendra Chamling (11/5/2015 2:53:00 AM)

    ...General, man is very useful.
    He can fly and he can kill.
    But he has one defect:
    He can think...

    Powerful poem. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 105,843 Points Rajnish Manga (1/22/2015 9:47:00 PM)

    Apart from the exquisite poetic beauty that it has, the poem delivers a blow to the war machines active in any part of the world. Yes, the man can think. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 90,463 Points Kim Barney (1/22/2015 7:27:00 PM)

    I would like to know when the poem was written, before of after Hitler invaded Poland. My guess would be just before. It would be interesting to find out. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »

Poems About War

  1. 1. The Next War , Wilfred Owen
  2. 2. World War Ii = Best Of The Rest War Poems , Tom Zart
  3. 3. From A German War Primer , Bertolt Brecht
  4. 4. Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War , Margaret Atwood
  5. 5. Love And War , Ovid
  6. 6. A War Song To Englishmen , William Blake
  7. 7. Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind , Stephen Crane
  8. 8. War Some More , Sandra Osborne
  9. 9. A Prayer In Time Of War , Alfred Noyes
  10. 10. Meditations In Time Of Civil War , William Butler Yeats
  11. 11. Repression Of War Experience , Siegfried Sassoon
  12. 12. War Of The Worlds , john tiong chunghoo
  13. 13. Memorial Day For The War Dead , Yehuda Amichai
  14. 14. There Was Crimson Clash Of War. , Stephen Crane
  15. 15. On Receiving News Of The War , Isaac Rosenberg
  16. 16. War, War, War! , Elizabeth Padillo Olesen
  17. 17. Two Poems From The War , Archibald MacLeish
  18. 18. Spring In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  19. 19. The Next War , Robert Graves
  20. 20. War Profit Litany , Allen Ginsberg
  21. 21. A Meditation In Time Of War , William Butler Yeats
  22. 22. War Is Never Over , Cecil L. Harrison
  23. 23. On Being Asked For A War Poem , William Butler Yeats
  24. 24. War Song , Thomas Moore
  25. 25. Tell Brave Deeds Of War , Stephen Crane
  26. 26. A War Song! , Sylvia Chidi
  27. 27. Song-Books Of The War , Siegfried Sassoon
  28. 28. Sonnet: War Is Inevitable At Times , Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar ..
  29. 29. Nefarious War , Li Po
  30. 30. War War War , gajanan mishra
  31. 31. At The War Office, London. , Thomas Hardy
  32. 32. War-Music , Henry Van Dyke
  33. 33. The Watchman (War War War War War War) , Udiah (witness to Yah)
  34. 34. The Holy War , Rudyard Kipling
  35. 35. Memories Of War , Joseph T. Renaldi
  36. 36. At The War Office, London (Affixing The .. , Thomas Hardy
  37. 37. To The Man-Of-War-Bird , Walt Whitman
  38. 38. In California During The Gulf War , Denise Levertov
  39. 39. Sonnet 46: Mine Eye And Heart Are At A M.. , William Shakespeare
  40. 40. Lessons Of The War , Henry Reed
  41. 41. To Lucasta On Going To The War - For The.. , Robert Graves
  42. 42. 0108 Two Poems About War , Michael Shepherd
  43. 43. Vietnam War Memorial Wall , Luke Easter
  44. 44. The War Of The Children , Aldo Kraas
  45. 45. On Being Asked To Write A Poem Against T.. , Hayden Carruth
  46. 46. Sonnet: Kargil War-Song , Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar ..
  47. 47. Bob Dylan Wrote Masters Of War , Uriah Hamilton
  48. 48. Civil War , Stanley Cooper
  49. 49. A War , Sylvia Chidi
  50. 50. War Music [down On Your Knees, Achilles] , Christopher Logue
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