A poem for Christmas Eve, by Bertolt Brecht.


This short poem by Bertolt Brecht was written in 1923.

Bertolt Brecht

Original name EUGEN BERTHOLD FRIEDRICH BRECHT (b. Feb. 10, 1898, Augsburg, Ger.–d. Aug. 14, 1956, East Berlin), German poet, playwright, and theatrical reformer whose epic theatre departed from the conventions of theatrical illusion and developed the drama as a social and ideological forum for leftist causes.

The poem appears here solely because my friend Jon texted a couple days ago: “Throughout the holidays I just ask myself, what would Brecht do?”

And the rest owes to Google.

Christmas Legend (Weihnachtslegende), by Bertolt Brecht

On Christmas Eve today
All of us poor people stay
Huddled in this chilly stack
The wind blows in through every crack.
Dear Jesus, come to us, now see
How sorely we have need of thee.

Here today we huddle tight
As the darkest heathens might
The snow falls chilly on our skin
The snow is forcing its way in.
Hush, snow, come in with us to dwell:
We were thrown out by Heaven as well.

The wine we’re mulling is strong and old
It’s good for keeping out the cold
The wine is hot, the door is shut
Some fat beast’s snuffling round the hut.
Then come in, beast, out of the snow
Beasts too have nowhere warm to go.

We’ll toss our coats on to the fire
Then we’ll all be warm as flames leap higher
Then the roof will almost catch alight
We shan’t freeze to death till we’re through the night.
Come in, dear wind, and be our guest
You too have neither home nor rest.