哈尔滨松花江. Despite heavy smog there is a lot of life on the frozen Songhua River, Harbin, China: photo by SinoLaZZeR, 23 November 2013
Once I thought: in distant times
When the buildings have collapsed in which I live
And the ships have rotted in which I travelled
My name will still be mentioned
Because I praised the useful, which In my day was considered base
Because I battled against all religions
Because I fought oppression or
For another reason.
Because I was for people and
Entrusted everything to them, thereby honoring them
Because I wrote verses and enriched the language
Because I taught practical behaviour or
For some other reason.
Therefore I thought my name would still be
Mentioned; on a stone
My name would stand; from books
It would get printed into the new books.
I accept that it will be forgotten.
Should the baker be asked for if there is enough bread?
Should the snow be praised that has melted
If new snowfalls are impending?
Should there be a past if
There is a future?
Should my name be mentioned?
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956): Why Should My Name Be Mentioned? (Warum soll mein Name gennant werden?), 1936, translated by Robert Conard in Poems 1913-1956 (1976)
dock at dusk (Hikone, Lake Biwa): photo by Stephen Cairns, 16 September 2013