The Art of Marxism: poetry

A Sad State of Freedom

by Nāzım Hikmet Ran

You waste the attention of your eyes,

the glittering labour of your hands,

and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves

of which you'll taste not a morsel;

you are free to slave for others-

you are free to make the rich richer.

The moment you're born

they plant around you

mills that grind lies

lies to last you a lifetime.

You keep thinking in your great freedom

a finger on your temple

free to have a free conscience.

Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,

your arms long, hanging,

your saunter about in your great freedom:

you're free

with the freedom of being unemployed.

You love your country

as the nearest, most precious thing to you.

But one day, for example,

they may endorse it over to America,

and you, too, with your great freedom-

you have the freedom to become an air-base.

You may proclaim that one must live

not as a tool, a number or a link

but as a human being-

then at once they handcuff your wrists.

You are free to be arrested, imprisoned

and even hanged.

There's neither an iron, wooden

nor a tulle curtain

in your life;

there's no need to choose freedom:

you are free.

But this kind of freedom

is a sad affair under the stars.