The Grooks by Piet Hein - via Villa Stabbia.

I'd like to know

I'd like to know
what this whole show
is all about
before it's out.

A psychological tip

Whenever you're called on to make up your mind
and you're hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find
is simply by spinning a penny.

No - not so that chance shall decide the affair
while you're passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air
you suddenly know what you're hoping.

An ethical Grook

I see
and I hear
and I speak no evil;

I carry
no malice
within my breast;

yet quite without
a man to the Devil

one may be
to hope for the best.


His party was the Brotherhood of Brothers,
and there were more of them than of the others.
That is, they constituted that minority
which formed the greater part of the majority.

Within the party, he was of the faction
that was supported by the greater fraction.
And in each group, within each group, he sought
the group that could command the most support.

The final group had finally elected
a triumvirate whom they all respected.
Now, of these three, two had final word,
because the two could overrule the third.
One of these two was relatively weak,
so one alone stood at the final peak.

He was: THE GREATER NUMBER of the pair
which formed the most part of the three that were
elected by the most of those whose boast
it was to represent the most of the most of most
of most of the entire state --
or of the most of it at any rate.

He never gave himself a moment's slumber
but sought the welfare of the greater number.
And all people, everywhere they went,
knew to their cost exactly what it meant
to be dictated to by the majority.
But that meant nothing, - they were the minority.

Why did they burn Giordano Bruno?

 Because the open mind is dangerous.
Because the power of the word is a weapon.
Because the freedom of life is might.
Because a free life is the might

against which the violence of power is futile.
Because the power of the word is our weapon,
- inquiry against domination.
Because an open mind is dangerous
for anyone who lives within their servitude.

Because Aristotle is overthrown,
and Copernicus expands the world.
Because mankind’s long journey
into new diversity and richness
led by humble free thought
bursts the bonds of slavery.

Therefore, they burned Giordano Bruno.

Therefore, - Because a human is larger
than the chambers, one is forced into,
than the weapons, one is faced with,
than their power, ineffectually
towering against Giordano Bruno's thought.

Therefore, not they, but he lives.

Poem by Piet Hein - translated by James Honzik

Appel i Mørket

Jeg vågner og lytter i mørket. Noget har rørt sig.
Noget har givet et næsten umærkeligt kny,
En iling har kruset den spejlblanke natlige stilhed.
Nu er den ubrudt påny.
Dær ligger mit barn i sin verden af hvile og drømme,
tryg i en lun lille seng med en bog og en bjørn.
Kalder han på mig i søvne? - Nej, alting er stille.
jeg lægger mig trygt. Da vågner jeg:
grædende børn!

Væggene viger og åbner sig ud mod alverden -
ud mod de dyb hvortil menneskefællesskab når.
Det synger af afstande, åbenhed, menneskets ansvar
for sine mindste, de kommendes menneskekår.
jeg k a n ikke lukke min verden om bare det nære.
jeg ligger og lytter i natten. Der grædes og kaldes.
Det e r ikke fremmede børn som er sultne og bange
og flygter og græder i mørket.
Det er vores alles

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