Thoughts on the duration of exile


Don’t drive a nail into the wall,
Throw your coat on the chair.
Why plan for four days?
You will return tomorrow.

Leave the small tree without water.
Why plant another tree?
Before it grows as high as a step,
You will be glad to get away from here.

Pull your hat down tight when someone passes by!
Why browse a foreign grammar?
The letter that calls you home
Is written in a familiar language.

Just as chalk flakes off the ceiling
(Don’t fight it!)
The wall of violence
Erected at the border against justice
Will crumble.


Look at the nail you have driven into the wall:
When do you think you will return?
Do you want to know what you believe inside?

Day after day
You work on your release,
Sitting in your room, writing.
Do you want to know what you think of your own work?
Look, the small chestnut tree in the corner of the courtyard
Which you heaved the can of water to!

Author: Yo Vogel
Picture: Brecht Festival,