Concerning the Infanticide, Marie Farrar by Bertolt Brecht
Jane Kite’s choice number 9
This poem, on a difficult subject, is important to me for rather complicated reasons. My grandmother, brought up by nuns, was a back street abortionist in the days of hatpins and gin. She was a terrible woman and very cruel to me, but I hear the refrain from Brecht:
You, too, I beg you, check your wrath and scorn
For man needs help from every creature born.
and perhaps a woman like my grandmother, someone skilled and experienced, could have helped Marie Farrar.
It’s an old-fashioned sounding poem, but just last week there was a report of an asylum seeker found dead with her starving baby alive by her side. I guess check your wrath and scorn is equivalent to our current check your privilege. I am someone who bore between clean sheets that had the initials NHS woven into them. 50 years earlier, it would have been different.