Wednesday, June 29, 2011


"A hero is a man whose life is such that instinctive equipment being what it is, and his environment being what it is, the effect he has on his environment is much greater than the effect it has on him. We may, therfore, say that he is a man who dominates and moulds his environment."

Christopher Caudwell

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Song of the Dry Orange Tree

To Carmen Morales

chop down my shadow.
Free me from the torture
of not bearing fruit.

Why was I born among mirrors?
Around me day dances
and night copies me
onto her stars.

I want to live blind to myself.
And I’ll dream
that ants and burrs
are my leaves and my birds.

chop down my shadow.
Free me from the torture
of not bearing fruit.


Monday, June 13, 2011


Marx stood higher, saw further, and took a wider and quicker view than all the rest of us. Marx was a genius; we others were at best talented. Without him the theory would not be by far what it is today. If therefore rightly bears his name.

-Fredrick Engels 

Questions From a Worker Who Reads

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find 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 the builders live?
Where, the evening that the 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 the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.
The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone?

Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him?
Philip of Spain wept when his armada
Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
the Second won the Seven Year's War. WhoElse won it?
Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors?
Every ten years a great man?
Who paid the bill?
So many reports.
So many questions.
Bertolt Brecht

Friday, June 10, 2011

Neither Stars, nor flowers

No, not for me to catch the stars above  
Or pluck the springtime flowers in meadows fair
To carry them to you as gifts of love
To be accepted with a gracious air.

Let flowers remain ungathered in the glade
For us to roam among them arm in arm.
Put them in flowerbowls and by evening they will fade:
The lack of air and sunshine does them harm.

The distance to the stars is far too great.
All I can do is watch them in the night.
A rocket might have helped—but it is late,
Too late for me to undertake the flight.

The strain would be too heavy for this heart,
An engine near the limit of its powers,
Clogged by the dust of countless roads and paths.
So take just it with neither stars nor flowers.

Translated by Dorian Rottenberg