kristen marie (mama_de_mary) wrote in morallybankrupt,
kristen marie

The Heirs of Stalin

Mute was the marble.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMutely glimmered the glass.
Mute stood the sentries,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxbronzed by the breeze.
Thin wisps of smoke curled over the coffin.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAnd breath seeped through the chinks
as they bore him out the mausoleum doors.
Slowly the coffin floated,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxgrazing the fized bayonets.
He also was mute--
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxhe also!--
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxmute and dread.
Grimly clenching
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxhis embalmed fists,
just pretending to be dead,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxhe watched from inside.
He wished to fix each pallbearer
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxin his memory:
young recruits
xxxxxxxxxxxxfrom Ryazan and Kursk,
so that later he might
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxcollect enough strength for a sortie,
rise from the grave,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand reach these unreflecting youths.
He was scheming.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxHad merely dozed off.
And I, appealing to our government,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxpetition them
to double,
xxxxxxxxxand treble,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe sentries guarding this slab,
and stop Stalin from ever rising again
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand, with Stalin,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe past.
I refer not to the past,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxso holy and glorious,
of Turksib,
xxxxxxxxxand Magnitka,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand the flag raised over Berlin.
By the past, in this case,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxI mean the neglect
of the people’s good,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfalse charges,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe jailing of innocent men.
We sowed our crops honestly.
Honestly we smelted metal,
and honestly we marched,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxjoining the ranks.
But he feared us.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxBelieving in the great goal,
he judged
xxxxxxxxxall means justified
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxto that great end.
He was far-sighted.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAdept in the art of political warfare,
he left many heirs
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxbehind on this globe.
I fancy
xxxxxxxthere’s a telephone in that coffin:
Stalin instructs
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxEnver Hoxha.
From that coffin where else does the cable go!
No, Stalin has not given up.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxHe thinks he can
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxcheat death.
We carried
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfrom the mausoleum.
But how remove Stalin’s heirs
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfrom Stalin!
Some of his heirs tend roses in retirement,
thinking in secret
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxtheir enforced leisure will not last.
xxxxxxxfrom platforms, even heap abuse on Stalin
xxxxat night,
xxxxxxxxxxxxyearn for the good old days.
No wonder Stalin’s heirs seem to suffer
these days from heart trouble.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThey, the former henchmen,
hate this era
xxxxxxxxxxxof emptied prison camps
and auditoriums full of people listening
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxto poets.
The Party
xxxxxxxxxdiscourages me
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfrom being smug.
"Why care?"
xxxxxxxxxxxsome say, but I can’t remain
While Stalin’s heirs walk this earth,
xxxxxxI fancy, still lurks in the mausoleum.

© Yevgeny Yevtushenko, 1962
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