Dawn (1972)
by Bakhtiyar Vahabzade (born 1925)

American chemist Linus Pauling (1901-1994), the focus of Vahabzade's poem "Dawn," was awarded the International Lenin Prize (1970) "For Consolidating Peace Among Nations" and the distinguished honor of two Nobel Prizes, one for Chemistry (1954) for his work on chemical bonds. His second, the Nobel Peace Prize (1962), was awarded for his efforts on behalf of the nuclear test ban treaty that was signed in 1963.

During the 1950s, Pauling became a victim of the McCarthy-era "witchhunts" in the U.S. His passport was withdrawn by the State Department because his "anti-Communist statements were not strong enough." In fact, this travel restriction almost prevented him from going to his own Nobel award ceremony. Pauling was targeted because he spoke out repeatedly against official U.S. government policies during his campaign for peace, disarmament and the end of nuclear testing.

(Addressing the U.S. government)

You have your own position
In the line-up of governments.
You have atomic and H-bombs,
You have tanks and cannons,
You have these weapons,
You have those weapons!
Can the country that has such guns
be afraid of anything?
But you are afraid of everything even today
and yesterday, you were afraid.

One bright mind,
One worrying heart
Are more frightening to you
Than thousands of H-bombs!

You were never afraid of atomic bombs
As much as you are afraid of such thoughts
of such minds!

Why did you become afraid of one mind
Which was able to separate colored lies
from the truth,
To distinguish truth from abomination?
-I know why!
If Linus is a slanderer, if he is a liar,
Then why do you hold back what he has said
from the people?
And why are you arresting him?

(Addressing courageous ones like Linus Pauling)
You who suffer because of the Motherland,
You who don't keep silent but ever speak,
You were destined for death and jails!

(Again addressing the U.S. government)
You have atomic bombs; you have missiles,
In spite of all these weapons, you are afraid.
The heaviness of this fear
Is the weight and price
Of the harm you have done.
Look at that scarlet horizon,
It is dawn,
It is dawn!

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