Lenin's Birthday

The Carpet-weavers of Kuyan-Bulak Honor Lenin

by Bertold Brecht

 

 

the carpet weavers of

kuyan-bulak honour lenin

 

1

often and copiously honor has been done

to comrade lenin. there are busts and statues.

cities are called after him, and children.

speeches are made in many languages

there are meetings and demonstrations

from shanghai to chicago in lenin's honor.

but this is how he was honored by

the carpet weavers of kuyan-bulak

a little township in southern turkestan.

 

every evening there twenty carpet weavers

shaking with fever rise from their primitive looms

fever is rife: the railway station

is full of the hum of mosquitoes, a thick cloud

that rises from the swamp behind the old camels' graveyard.

but the railway train which

every two weeks brings water and smoke, brings

the news also one day

that the day approaches honoring comrade lenin.

and the people of kuyan-bulak

carpet weavers, poor people

decide that in their township too comrade lenin's

plaster bust shall be put up.

then, as the colleciton is made for the bust

they all stand

shaking with fever and offer

their hard-earned kopeks with trembling hands.

and the red ary man stepa gamalev, who

carefully counts and nimutely watches

sees how ready they are to honor lenin, and he is glad

but he also sees their unsteady hands

and he suddenly proposes

that the money for the bust be used to buy petroleum

to be poured on the swamp behind the camels' graveyard

where the mosquitoes breed that carry

the fever germ.

and so to fight the fever at kuyan-bulak, thus

honoring the dead but

not to be forgotten

comrade lenin.

 

they resolved to do this. on the day of the ceremony thy carried

their dented buckets filled with black petroleum

one after the other

and poured it over the swamp

 

so they helped themselves by honoring lenin, and

understood him better.

 

2

 

we have heard how the people of kuyan-bulak

honored lenin. when in the evening

the petroleum had been bought and poured on the swamp

a man rose at that meeting, demanding

that a plaque be affixed on the railway station

recording these events and containing

precise details too of their altered plan, the exchange of

the bust for lenin for a barrel of fever-destroying oil.

and all this in honor of lenin.

and they did this as well

and put up the plaque.

bb

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  • The "Red star rises"and "My soul has grown deep,like the rivers."
    These references come from the African American poet,Langston Hughes,who wrote the first, to honor Lenin,like Bertold Brecht,penned the Carpet-weavers to do the same.
    The second, of Hughes was written to honor W.E.B. Du Bois, from a well known poem, Negro Speaks of Rivers, which more of us will know was written for Du Bois- maybe showing,from poets' pens-like Brecht and Hughes that:

    "in all of this in honor of lenin."

    Maybe the "red star does rise"as "...soul has grown deep, like the rivers"- Du Bois in Lenin and Lenin in Du Bois.

    Posted by peaceapplause, 04/22/2011 3:13pm (7 years ago)

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