The whole of our poor district in Berlin
wanted to get to speak to me –
hunger matured into hate.
There I first studied social science:
years of thrashing till my father dead-drunk
blundered in front of a horse and cart.
At a workbench in sundust
I had to provide for a washed-out mother
and two consumptive sisters. Nothing sufficed.
But carbines and sandbags
gave us Spartacists a few hours’ civil rights.
I had wanted to be a teacher.