Bertolt Brecht Translations

Bertolt Brecht Translations

These are my modern English translations of poems written in German by Bertolt Brecht. After the poems I have translations of epigrams and quotations by Bertolt Brecht.

The Burning of the Books
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he'd been excluded!

Mirza Ghalib translations

These are modern English translations of Urdu poems by Mirza Ghalib. 

Near Sainthood
by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Kanu V. Prajapati and Michael R. Burch

On the subject of mystic philosophy, Ghalib,
your words might have struck us as deeply profound ...
Hell, we might have pronounced you a saint,
if only we hadn't found
you drunk
as a skunk!

***

Ghazal
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Takaha Shugyo haiku translations

These are my modern English translations of Takaha Shugyo haiku and tanka...

hatogata horarete ichiju haya mebuku

A single tree
with a heart carved into its trunk
blossoms prematurely
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

dôkefuku nugazu tentômushi no shi yo

Still clad in its clown's costume—
the dead ladybird.
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

ochitsubaki ware naraba kyuryu e otsu

Middle English Translations

These are my modern English translations of some of the very best Middle English poems.

 

This World's Joy
anonymous Middle English poem, circa 1300
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter awakens all my care
as leafless trees grow bare.
For now my sighs are fraught
whenever it enters my thought:
regarding this world's joy,
how everything comes to naught.

[MS. Harl. 2253. f. 49r]

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