Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Waterwheel

This post is for our favorite of visitor (sadly, not a typo) whattheheh, who said such kind things about the Lorca post; and also for all the working people in the world, those that get up everyday and work hard for their families and communities. The German Poet and Playwrite Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), a typical Socialist rabble rouser, sang the praises of such folk as loudly as anyone I know. And though his poems are not so beautiful as Lorca's he was a pretty hip cat for a Geman Socialist; Bobby Darin made a number one hit of a song Brecht wrote for " A Three Penny Opera" a tune called Mack The Knife. And The Doors sampled Brecht for their song Moon of Alabama. So I gve you Brecht's Song of the Waterwheel. It's a muscular little poem, those thirties radicals were the bomb.

"The Song Of The Waterwheel."
Ancient tale and epic story,
Tell of heroes' lives untarnished:
Like the stars they rose in glory,
Like the stars they set when vanquished.
This is comforting and we should know it,
We, alas, who plant the wheat and grow it.
Have but little share in triumph or disasters,
Rise to fame or fall: Who feeds our masters?
Yes, the wheel is always turning madly,
Neither side stays up or down,
But the water underneath fares badly,
For it has to make the wheel go 'round.

Ah, we've had so many masters.
Swine or eagle, lean or fat one:
Some were tigers, some hyenas,
Still we fed this one and that one.
Whether one is better than the other:
Ah, one boot is always like the other:
When it treads upon you.
What I say about them,
Is we need no masters;
We can do without them.
Yes, the wheel is always turning madly,
Neither side stays up or down,
But the water underneath fares badly,
For it has to make the wheel go round.

And they beat each other's heads all bloody,
Scuffling over booty,
Call the other fellows greedy wretches,
They, themselves, but do their duty.
Ceaselessly we watch their wars grow ever grimmer,
Would I knew a way for them to be united.
If we will no more provide the fodder,
Maybe that's the way all would be righted.
For at last the wheel will turn no longer,
And shall ride the stream no more,
When the water joins to water as it gaily,
Drives itself, freed of the load it bore.


Anonymous WhattheH said...

Why, thank ya darlin, I'm touched.
It's an interesting poem, and certainly reflects Brecht's beliefs.
To be honest, Brecht is not my favourite, although I love the songs he wrote with Kurt Weill. My favourite version of The Ballad of Mac the Knife is sung by Lotte Lenya. Although Darin's version was good, Lenya had that gutteral smoky voice that to my mind, perfectly intrepreted the intent of the song.
My favourite poet is Susan Goyette, but I'm a nonman, so her poems speak to me and to my experiences. I'm also a sucker for the romantics - Browning, Noyes, Byron, Keats and I love Frost and Silverstein. There are too many to name. One of my favourite poems is by Foss - The House by the side of the Road.
Keep up the good work, bud. I do enjoy coming here, and I learn something new each time.

12:57 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

As a poet Brecht was one hell of a playwrite Kurt Weill I understand was a genius but I haven't heard much of the original music. I love Brecht's politics so I guess that make me go for his poetry. I must seek out the Goyette version.

I'm political so I like the ones who stir the pot.

I favor Blake over Byron and Keats. I like Browning a lot. Frost and Silverstein I haven't read much off, if you have any favorites perhaps you might leave them here for me to enjoy.

Don't you just love Libby Pratt's blog?

I agree with every sentiment in "The House By The Side of The Road" but wasn't really excited. These things are a matter of taste, but we obviously share some interests and I always like to hear your thoughts. You point out something, I'll take a look, we learn from one another, no?


10:08 PM  

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