Sunday Poem

Song for Those Who Know

Something must be done right away
that much we know
but of course it's too soon to act
but of course it's too late in the day
oh we know

we know that we're really rather well off
and that we'll go on like this
and that it's not much use anyway
oh we know

we know that we are to blame
and that it's not our fault if we are to blame
and that we're to blame for the fact that it's not our fault
and that we're fed up with it
oh we know

and that maybe it would be a good idea to keep our mouths shut
and that we won't keep our mouths shut all the same
oh we know
oh we know

and we also know that we can't help anybody really
and that nobody really can help us
oh we know

and that we're extremely gifted and brilliant
and free to choose between nothing and naught
and that we must analyze this problem very carefully
and that we take two lumps of sugar in our tea
oh we know

we know all about oppression
and that we are very much againstit
and that cigarettes have gone up again
oh we know

we know very well that the nation is heading for real trouble
and that our forecasts have usually been dead right
and that they are not of any use
and that all this is just talk
oh we know

that it's just not good enough to live things down
and that we are going to live them down all the same
oh we know oh we know

that there is nothing new in all this
and that life is wonderful
and that's all there is to it
oh we know all this perfectly well

and that we know all this perfectly well
oh we know that too
oh we know it
oh we know
.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger
from The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry
Vintage Books, 1996
.

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