You can’t write poems about trees when the woods are full of policemen.

What's the meaning of this quote?

Quote Meaning:
This quote, often attributed to the American poet Bertolt Brecht, carries a powerful message about the relationship between art and the socio-political context in which it is created. It suggests that the creation of art, such as poems, is influenced and constrained by the prevailing societal conditions and, in this case, the presence of authority figures or oppressive forces.

The quote uses the image of writing poems about trees as a metaphor for creating art that is detached from or unaware of the political and social realities of the world. Trees represent nature and tranquility, while the woods full of policemen symbolize a state of surveillance, control, or oppression.

Free Resource: A step-by-step blueprint to realize your dreams

In this context, the quote challenges the idea of creating art in isolation from the world's problems or injustices. It implies that when a society is gripped by authoritarianism or oppressive forces, artists may find it difficult to focus on topics perceived as less urgent, such as the beauty of nature.

Furthermore, the quote suggests that art has a responsibility to engage with the issues of its time. Instead of ignoring or escaping from the realities of the world, artists are called upon to address them, critique them, and contribute to discussions about social justice, freedom, and change.

In essence, this quote serves as a reminder of the social and political relevance of art. It encourages artists to be mindful of the context in which they create and to use their creative talents to shed light on important issues, challenge the status quo, and advocate for positive change. It underscores the idea that art has the power to both reflect and shape the world in which it is created.

In summary, Brecht's quote urges artists to be socially conscious and engaged, recognizing that their creative work is intimately tied to the socio-political landscape and that they have a role to play in addressing the pressing concerns of their time.

Who said the quote?

The quote "You can't write poems about trees when the woods are full of policemen." is often attributed to Bertolt Brecht (Quotes). Bertolt Brecht, a renowned poet and playwright, was a key figure in 20th-century theater and known for his influential epic theater techniques.

Reading is Smart. Applying is Smarter:  Apply

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

Actualize Your Potential
Get my simplified process for realizing dreams (The exact process that enabled me to achieve 100 life goals in 10 years)
Access my Start With WHY workbook for free, designed to guide you toward your purpose and the person you are meant to become
Align With Your Why
Elevate In Your Inbox
Get actionable insights, best practices, and wisdom you can apply — No hype, No fluff. Just practical ideas that might change your life.

Read The Art of Fully Living

There's no going back-once you embark on the journey you're meant to live, it's impossible to settle for anything less than your dreams.

Click here to learn more

Set Better Goals

Learn a better and smarter approach to setting and achieving goals. It's not just about what you want to achieve, but who you must become in the process.

Click here to learn more
Take The Free Test
Discover your areas for growth in just 5 minutes. Take the FREE self-evaluation test and pinpoint where to focus your efforts

Uplevel Your Game

Explore The Roadmaps

Access a self-paced online roadmap that turns big goals into realities, complete with daily study guides, actionable steps, and proven practices from the world's best minds
Reclaim your freedom, escape 9-5, and live the life you were meant to live — A self-paced roadmap with daily study guides, actionable steps, and proven practices
Join The Accelerator
Join a 10-week, personalized immersion that will accelerate your goal-attainment, elevate you to your next level, and turn your big dreams into reality.
Learn More
Thanks for reading. It makes a difference. A portion of all proceeds from our endeavors supports entrepreneurs in the developing world. View Impact...