Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Good Woman of Setzuan

By: Bertolt Brecht

In 1991 Nico and I had an in-depth discussion about Bertolt Brecht. As I was passionately expressing my love and admiration for Brecht, he smiled and with a German accent sarcastically said:
"A biographical book has recently published in Germany about your beloved Brecht!! which would give you a different perspective of him on women"
I stared at him, as a sign of uncertainty...
- Yes, I know, I know...nothing is absolute!
And, suddenly Pablo Picasso came to my mind....and his life with women!

Read an excerpt of Brecht's play: The Good Woman of Setzuan

Shen Te: Shen Te, yes. Shui Ta and Shen Te. Both.

Your injunction
To be good and yet to live
Was a thunderbolt
It has torn me in two
I can’t tell how it was
But to be good to others
And myself at the same time
I could not do it
Your world is not an easy one, illustrious ones!
When we extend our hand to a beggar, he tears it off for us
When we help the lost, we are lost ourselves
And so
Since not to eat is to die
Who can long to refuse to be bad?
As I lay prostrate beneath the weight of good intentions
Ruin stared me in the face
It was when I was unjust that I ate good meat
And hobnobbed with the mighty
Why are bad deeds rewarded?
Good ones punished?

I developed a sharp eye
The time came when pity was a thorn in my side
And, later, when kind words turned to ashes in my mouth
And anger took over
I became a wolf
All that I have done I did
To help my neighbor
To love my lover
And to keep my little one from want
For your great, godly deeds, I was too poor, too small.

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