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This poem is taken from PN Review 268, Volume 49 Number 2, November - December 2022.

Four Poems
translated by Timothy Adès
Bertolt Brecht
Thoughts of a Gramophone Owner

I bought it in 1904, a really good purchase
Ever since, in the daytime it’s been my habit to hide it
It’s a thrilling wooden box for life’s darkest hours
With the voice of Adelina Patti inside it.

Adelina Patti, the singer: died 1911
I have her voice (may the earth lie lightly above her)
From the life, I’ve kept the receipt from when I acquired it
Her voice is still good, I’ll be playing it over and over.

No doubt it’ll sing to my grandchildren too, one day
Adelina’s the name it’s always answered to
Once I fell over from drinking too much brandy
So my dear Adelina’s voice isn’t quite like new.

But it still is special and quite clever people have marvelled
That somehow life comes up with so many things
We’ve certainly made enormous technical progress

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