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Lay for the Day
10th February

1898: birth of Bertolt Brecht, poet and playwright, in Augsburg, Bavaria.


Not a prophet, he
stood in the marketplace de-
nouncing property.

He was not hasty
but considered; nor hateful
except of waste – the

discarded plateful,
minds that are leashed by guts
they desire to make full

though they never may
be. Saw history uphold
what he had to say:

that blood would be stilled
and Devil take the last waltz
if greed wasn’t stalled.

Himself unstifled,
he survived to find his calls’
echo turning false.

White rooms, hospitals,
scent of fir and sound of birds
made off with his last words.


John Gibbens
from Becoming Light


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar