The Lenin Mausoleum
Lenin Lived, Lenin is Alive, Lenin will Survive!
Flushed from the taiga like a bird of prey.
More than just a party hack, Lenin
Crushed the vanguard of the proletariat.
On a humble table, a jam pot with spoon
His samovar heated with Siberian coal
Brewed black tea to incite revolution.
To counter chills of thirty below zero
His chosen guests were treated
To thick slabs of frozen belly fat.
An inveterate pamphleteer, his battle cry:
Take away the gentry’s land
And from the church and crown
Their stranglehold upon the peasantry –
Rhetoric of a Bolshevik, a trifle overblown.
He died in 1924, the 21st day of the year.
Moscow was his resting-place
A proud memorial to a striking face
Laid out in a silk-lined coffin.
Lenin had detractors, though Stalin with his brute moustache
Was culpable as well –
Kerensky blown away by an evening breeze
Just before the Eastern Front collapsed.
An empire culminated in their wake
Became the people’s nightmare.
Das Kapital on view, a wild boar chapka
Grey cloth cap, shabby tweed coat
And the long-embedded bullet that later paralysed –
Black suit neatly pressed, his Uzbek cotton shirt
And bald pate gathered closely round the skull.
How much longer can Lenin’s corpse take
Infusions of formaldehyde and costly salves?
Young married couples seek him out
For strength in procreation
And new recruits pray to him
When headed for the borders.
How long will Red Guards kindle the eternal flame?
Lenin, unlike Jesus Christ, will not rear his head again,
Nor will he, Lazarus-like, be called forth from his tomb.
Power was within his grasp –
But then gave him the slip.
Will workers and the peasantry
Bear his message all around the world
Jump-start once again: The Union of the Struggle
For the Liberation of the Working Class?
A kulak pensioner remembers his good fortune –
Better off before Comrade Gorbachev
Destroyed vineyards and the rouble zone.
No military parades for heroes of the Patriotic War
And little else to reward the worker.
Now gangsters of the Komsomolsk
Plunder Moscow’s wealth.
Lenin’s dusty features, woven into Turkmen rugs
Are walked upon each day.
Portraits of a revolutionary
Snapped up by well-heeled westerners
Unable to cart off mammoth bronzes
Though they charter Antonovs
For arms and market spoils.
How is it Comrade Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov
That the young still visit you for good fortune?
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Jailed and exiled: XII.1895 - I.1900 Shushenskoye, Siberia
Died: 21.I.1924, Gorky
Comments about this poem (The Lenin Mausoleum by Julian De Wette )
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