I was comparing some past researches when I asked myself if a waterwheel could be estimated more important than a poem or maybe they should have the same value within our cultural baggage.
Time is illustrated by history, through literature and by the objects that shaped it.
Today, I suggest you this poem of Bertolt Brecht – German playwright and poet.
In the collection entitled “Svendborger Gedichte”, there is our “Questions from a worker who reads” – the poet through a seesaw rhythm answers all the questions that a worker could make thinking about all past events.
We have to remember that beyond all abandoned factories, there are workers that have been shaping history till now.
This poem is a tribute to those ones who left a mark in the history of these places. Enjoy the read!
Bertolt Brecht, “Questions from a worker who reads” (1935)
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.
Translated by Andrea Consalvi