Comrade Lenin has been honored
Often and plentifully. There are busts and statues.
Cities and children have been named after him.
Speeches have been given in many languages,
Meetings held, and demonstrations
From Shanghai to Chicago, in honor of Lenin.
But this is the way the rugweavers
Honored him in Kujan-Bulak,
A small community in southern Turkestan:
Twenty rugweavers live there, in the evening
As they sit on their humble weaving stools they are racked with fever.
Fever spreads: the railroad station
Is filled with buzzing clouds of mosquitoes
Which arise from the swamp behind the old camel yard.
But the railroad, which
Brings water and smoke every two weeks, brings
One day the news as well
That Lenin Memorial Day is coming.
And the people of Kujan-Bulak decide,
Poor weavers that they are,
That also in their community a plaster bust
Of Comrade Lenin should be set up.
But as they collect the money for the bust
They are all
Racked with fever and count
Their hard-earned kopecks with shaking hands.
And the Red Army man, Stepa Gamelev, who
Is counting carefully and paying close attention,
Sees the readiness to honor Lenin and is glad,
But he also sees the unsteady hands.
And he suddenly makes the proposal
That they buy petroleum with the money for the bust of Lenin
And pour it in the swamp behind the camel yard
From which the mosquitoes come which
Carry the fever.
Thus they would both fight the fever in Kujan-Bulak and mightily
Honor the dead but
Not to be forgotten
They agreed to it. On Memorial Day they carried
Their battered buckets filled with black petroleum,
One after another,
And poured it over the swamp.
Thus they helped themselves while honoring Lenin and
Honored him while helping themselves and likewise
They understood him.
We have heard how the people of Kujan-Bulak
Honored Lenin. Then in the evening of the day
When the petroleum was bought and poured over the swamp
A man arose in their assembly and he wanted
A tablet set up in the railroad station
With a notice of this event, containing the details
Of both the altered plan and the exchange
Of the Lenin bust for the fever-destroying barrels of petroleum.
And all of this in honor of Lenin.
And they did this, too,
And put up the tablet.
From Radical Notes Fb post