Keep Quiet

Keep quiet
I won’t keep quiet,
as long as injustice speaks,
the ground is wet with blood
look, they shot them dead.

Now keep quiet
I won’t keep quiet,
as long as injustice speaks,
proclaim child and grass,
the birds that fly today,
I won’t keep quiet.

Just keep quiet
I won’t keep quiet,
as long as injustice speaks,
every morning is night,
their hatred will be sent,
by us, on a verdant voyage.

— Wolfgang Welsche
(Trans. by  S. N. Johnson-Roehr)

Wolfgang Welsch was twenty years old when he was arrested by the East German Stasi for attempting to escape to West Germany and for “incitement hostile to the state” (the charge for reading his poetry in public). In 1970, six years into his imprisonment, a message he’d written on a cigarette paper was smuggled out of prison, eventually making its way to the Leeds Amnesty International group in the United Kingdom. Welsch was released from prison on March 24, 1971, after months of international pressure.

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