Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lenin Platz in Berlin

A friend of mine says that three blocks from his apartment in Moscow stands a statue of Lenin. The sculptor who made the statue "did his first Lenin at the age of about 8, when Lenin died. He said he remembered that everybody was really sad, so he went down to the river and made a little Lenin out of clay," according to an article about him. My friend also tells me that to the left of the statue of Lenin, just out of view, is an Iran Air office -- how appropriate.
Lenin Platz in Berlin
by Fadhil al-Azzawi

There in his square
he stood, arms stretched forward
as if begging the passers-by
to stop and hear him out.
He wore his ragged black coat
and had his grey cap
pulled over his eyes.
I saw him prophesy revolution
to workers and soldiers
and threaten the bourgeoisie with Hell.

He did not have a chair to sit on
so he remained standing
and waited forever.

When they arrested him
he was asleep and dreaming
on his high platform.
They cut through his hardened body
with an electric saw
and carried his marble head
with a rented forklift
to a storeroom of archaeological remains.

The workers covered his grassy square
with cement
afraid the thieves of the class struggle
would plunder its invaluable dust.

A lot of blood stuck to our shoes
as we walked the streets
following his coffin.


Translated by the author
and Khaled Mattawa

Banipal, No. 6, Autumn 1999, p. 7

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