To the Enemy of the People (1937)
by Abdulla Shaig (1881-1959 )

(This poem refers to Stalin, as it was written in the year most closely associated with his repressive policy-1937-which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the Soviet Union, including many intellectuals. The poet secretly hid this work and others that were critical of the regime. They were only discovered after his death. It was not possible to publish these poems until about 60 years later-after Azerbaijan had gained its independence.)

Stop, stop, you ignorant architect, the building
And the rooms are all askew.
Because your hand, eye, ear, head
And foot are crooked.
You're such an unskillful architect
When it comes to construction
But you're so adroit when it comes to destroying
And tearing down.
There was a test for the presidium,
And this makes you impudent
A chance coincidence brought you to this position.
Otherwise, you had neither
Sufficient knowledge, consciousness, nor skill.
Striving for the highest rank has made you so arrogant.
Seeking this, you took the wrong path,
You destroyed, broke, plundered to the right
And to the left.
The policy you implemented in order
To stay in the presidium
Caused thousands of disasters at every step.
Time will tell what you have done!
One can go deaf hearing so many voices
Mourning in our country.
Ignorant, stubborn people have neither heart,
Nor conscience.
Obviously, the empty drumbeat thunders more loudly.

I've studied all periods of history-
Far distant and modern-
Every bloody state, every tribe.
I couldn't find such a barbaric murderer anywhere,
You've totally annihilated
The nation's most knowledgeable sons
Stop! Enough, ignorant drunk! Tyranny has its limits!
One shouldn't jump over the ravine; it also has a bridge.
Such arrogance has not been observed in any king,
The nation's bloody tears bring such joy to you.
Ignorance and superficiality
Result in haughtiness and stubbornness.
The gray waves come only to the shores,
Hey you, eagle owl, you tried so hard to be a falcon,
You wanted to leave your name in history
With your empty brain.
Your every step, your every move proved this.
Have you ever known anyone to plant thorns in his field, and reap grain?
This green field, this thrashing-floor,
Have been watered with tears,
With orphans' sighs, this mill was worked,
Not a single day of yours passes without a party,
Ride your stupid donkey up and down every slope,
The wine poured into glasses will mock you,
What does country or nation mean to a drunkard like you?!

Translated by Aytan Aliyeva, Ulviyya Mammadova and Aynura Huseinova

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