arts / BCB / Broadcasts / Drama / Israel / Palestine / poetry / writing

Poems from The Jewish Wife play

Asadour Guzelian reads the poems from the radio play, The Jewish Wife, to be broadcast soon on BCB Radio.

The Jewish Wife, by Karl Dallas

Inspired by a scene from Brecht’s Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches
(The Fear and Misery of the Third Reich)

She leaves home

God knows he was no ideologue
And she went but rarely to the synagogue
As a scientist he had no time for politics
Said: Life goes on despite all their dirty tricks
But still she’s packing, and as she packs,
Leaving behind everything she lacks
In her heart her farewell speech she composes
Trying to remember what she knew of the Law of Moses
Well, let it be, each life must take its course
Let’s hope it’s temporary; nothing like divorce
She’s not concerned about what their friends might think
One thing’s certain: she will take the mink!

On the train

Even travelling first class
Makes you realise most things must pass.
Nothing in this life is certain
At any time fate can pull the final curtain.
The friendly guy in the opposite seat
May seem like someone you might want to meet,
Someone who deserves your trust
But all must do what everyone must.
When all is said and all is done
The only one trustworthy’s number one.

The Amsterdam docks

It’s not easy, a woman alone:
Pursued by war, she’s travelling on.
Friendless, penniless, from pillar to post,
She takes her place among the lost.
And only the lost can understand
Her loss of status, loss of homeland.
One thing remains, one vestige left.
Without it she’ll be a woman bereft.
When the chips are down, one rule you’ll find:
Compassion has a price, when time’s unkind.

On the high seas

The sea is neutral. It comes and goes. 
It has no friends. It has no foes.
The fisherman’s solution to this riddle,
He plays both ends against the middle.
Harvest her bounty, respect the ocean,
Ride her swell, her relentless motion
Is part of life, and death also,
Is war and peace, for high and low.

In the camp

A war’s no time to make a fuss.
There’s only two sides to this question: them or us.
It doesn’t matter which you’re in,
They lump together kith and kin.
And even peace brings no relief.
You’re faced with choices beyond belief.
You think you’re certain where you’d go,
But others decide, they have the say-so.
The choice is not a simple East or West.
Right now the enemy of better is the best.


The peoples of the world, a melting pot,
Sometimes the weather’s cold, sometimes hot.
Sometimes here, sometimes there.
It matters not. History doesn’t care.
Sometimes freedom beckons, sometimes the slave,
Sometimes the cradle, but all ends in the grave.
The persecuted have a logic, once they rule
The jackboot’s on their foot, the gun’s their tool.
A Chosen People, Master Race,
In the dance of death each must have their place.
One thought behind the human drive
From start to end, we must survive.
In a material world, it’s not what you think
That matters, so hold on to your mink.

Brecht and Weigel on the roof of the Berliner ...

Brecht and Weigel on the roof of the Berliner Ensemble during the International Workers’ Day demonstrations in 1954. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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