Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Don't read odes, my boy, read the timetables:
they are more exact. Unroll the seacharts
before it's too late. Be on your guard, don't sing.
The day will come when they'll hammer lists
on the door again and mark with special signs
all who say no. Learn to go unrecognized,
learn more than I ever did: to change
your domicile, passport, face. Become
adept at petty treacheries and the everyday
dirty get-out. Encyclicals
are good to light the fire with,
manifestos: to wrap the butter in and salt
for those who cannot defend themselves. Rage
and patience are needed
to blow into the lungs of power
the lethal dust
finely ground by those who have learned a lot
and are exact, like you.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Translated from the German by David Constantine
Poetry London
Number 47
Spring 2004