Questions from a worker who reads. Bertolt Brecht

If you see an object, regard the many hands that make the object into a thing you use or adorn, or house you. See the people behind their labour, to give your life convenience and comfort, and wish them well wherever they are in life.

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?

Frederick the Second won the Seven Year’s War. Who

Else 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’s Questions from a worker who reads

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