Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Embryo Speaks (Die Leibesfrucht spricht)

By Kurt Tucholsky

They all take care of me: Church, State, Doctors and Judges.

I should grow and thrive; I should slumber nine months long; I should not worry about a thing – they all wish me well. They protect me. They watch over me. God have mercy if my parents do something to me; then they will all be there. Whoever touches me will be punished; my mother lands in prison, my father right behind; the doctor who did it must cease to be a doctor, the midwife who helped is locked up - I'm a precious item.

They all take care of me: Church, State, Doctors and Judges.

Nine months long.

But when the nine months are over, I have to see for myself what becomes of me. Tuberculosis? No doctor will help me. Nothing to eat? No Milk? – no State will help me. Torment and misery? The Church will comfort me, but that doesn't fill my stomach. And if I have no bread to break or to bite and I steal: the Judge is right there to lock me up.

Fifty years of my life no one will care about me, no one. I have to help myself. Nine months long they kill themselves, if someone wants to kill me. You tell me: isn't that a strange way to look out for the welfare of another?


Alice has reposted this translation along with some commentary putting the text in a modern perspective. There's also an interesting discussion about it going on at Wonderlandornot.