PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Thomas Kinsella in conversation Jeffrey Wainwright comes to grips with St Chad Hsien Min Toh gives us a Korean perspective Iain Bamforth on Lou and Fritz: Sensible Shoes meets Starstruck Judith Bishop on Love and Self-Understanding in an Algorhythmic Age

This poem is taken from PN Review 113, Volume 23 Number 3, January - February 1997.

Five Poems (translated by Michael Hamburger) Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Translated by Michael Hamburger


Privileged Instructions

It is forbidden to set fire to persons.
It is forbidden to set fire to persons in possession of a valid residence permit.
It is forbidden to set fire to persons not suspected of endangering the constitution and
     security of the German Federal Republic.
It is forbidden to set fire to persons whose behaviour and attitudes are not conducive to that
     suspicion.
More specifically, juveniles, too, who in view of deficient leisure facilities and in ignorance of
     the relevant regulations or because of difficulties of orientation are psychically
     endangered, are not permitted to set fire to persons indiscriminately.
Indeed that course is urgently inadvisable in consideration of the German Federal Republic's
     reputation abroad.
It is not seemly.
It is not usual.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image