If This is a Man by Primo Michele Levi

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud,
Who does not know peace,
Who fights for a scrap of bread,
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman
Without hair and without name,
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_This_Is_a_Man

Date: 1947 (Italian); 1959 (English)

By: Primo Michele Levi (1919-1987)

Translated by: Stuart Woolf (1936- )

2 Comments to “If This is a Man by Primo Michele Levi”

  1. Powerful poem. I didn’t know Primo Levy wrote any. Thanks for digging it up.

  2. “Powerful” is not a powerful enough word.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: