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Pablo Neruda's "To Be Men! That Is the Stalinist Law!"

Poetasters, dirty politicians, and other liars soil the cosmos. Exposing them remains in my toolkit. I read charlatans so you don't have to!

Introduction and Text of "To be men! That is the Stalinist law!"

Pablo Neruda's "To be men! That is the Stalinist law!" is a piece seldom, if ever, found in anthologies, especially those translated into English. He wrote this piece in 1953 upon the death of Joseph Stalin, Neruda's hero.

The piece is twenty lines long, which separates into uneven movements, without rime or rhythmic meter. Interestingly, trying to find the original Spanish version of his poem online eludes the searcher.

(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")

To be men! That is the Stalinist law!

To be men! That is the Stalinist law! . . .
We must learn from Stalin
his sincere intensity
his concrete clarity. . . .
Stalin is the noon,
the maturity of man and the peoples.
Stalinists, Let us bear this title with pride. . . .
Stalinist workers, clerks, women take care of this day!
The light has not vanished.
The fire has not disappeared,
There is only the growth of
Light, bread, fire and hope
In Stalin’s invincible time! . . .
In recent years the dove,
Peace, the wandering persecuted rose,
Found herself on his shoulders
And Stalin, the giant,
Carried her at the heights of his forehead. . . .
A wave beats against the stones of the shore.
But Malenkov will continue his work.

Commentary

As the title signals, this verse is a piece of propaganda, celebrating the dictator Joseph Stalin, who murdered millions of his citizens.

First Movement: Screw Up Your Intensity and Follow a Dictator

To be men! That is the Stalinist law! . . .
We must learn from Stalin
his sincere intensity
his concrete clarity. . . .

In the first movement, the speaker declares that the great Joseph Stalin is calling on his followers "[t]o be men"; they must man up and adhere to "the Stalinist law!" These men will learn from the great leader because this law-giver is full of "sincere intensity" and "concrete clarity."

Such claims for "intensity" and "clarity" bring to mind the images offered by W. B. Yeats in "The Second Coming," as he hyperbolically describes the revolutionaries who are blighting the Irish landscape: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."

As history has affirmed, the "sincere intensity" in leaders such Joseph Stalin can certainly be qualified as "the worst." That Stalinesque brand of intensity disrupted the Russian economy, displaced hundreds of thousands of citizens, and killed millions of those citizens. According to Palash Ghosh, writer for the International Business Times,

Stalin’s extremely brutal 30-year rule as absolute ruler of the Soviet Union featured so many atrocities, including purges, expulsions, forced displacements, imprisonment in labor camps, manufactured famines, torture and good old-fashioned acts of mass murder and massacres (not to mention World War II) that the complete toll of bloodshed will likely never be known.

Only a willful ignorance could be responsible for elevating this atrocious mind-set to the status of a poet. Interestingly, his other less political works reveal that he was in fact a poetaster and never a genuine poet.

Second Movement: Great Leader, Dear Leader

Stalin is the noon,
the maturity of man and the peoples.
Stalinists, Let us bear this title with pride. . . .
Stalinist workers, clerks, women take care of this day!

The speaker then metaphorically compares Stalin to "noon," the time of day when the sun stands overhead at its highest. He is implying that Stalin is the highest authority because he has attained a level of "maturity" to which all "peoples" aspire.

This leader has the wisdom of age far above all other men and those "peoples." The speaker calling his audience to entertain pride in their hearts for such a leader. He would have the hearts of those Stalinists burst with pride that they are part of the great leader's movement.

The speaker exhorts "Stalinist workers, clerks, women" pressing them to "take care of this day!" He wants the Stalinists to preserve the rich political climate that he fantasizes is being provided by their great leader.

Third Movement: Propagandistic Melodrama

The light has not vanished.
The fire has not disappeared,
There is only the growth of
Light, bread, fire and hope
In Stalin’s invincible time! . . .

The speaker waxes ultra-melodramatic, describing the magnificent atmosphere and just general good times brought in by leader Stalin, as he reports that life is bright and warm. The "invincible" leader has ushered in a tremendous period of growth, including the qualities that every citizens hopes for.

Continuing his concocted twist on reality, he is asserting that everyone will be fed and clothed; everyone will be happy and filled with hope for every coming tomorrow.

Fourth Movement: Peace, Compassion, Wisdom

In recent years the dove,
Peace, the wandering persecuted rose,
Found herself on his shoulders
And Stalin, the giant,
Carried her at the heights of his forehead. . . .

In the fourth Movement, the speaker employs the symbol of peace, "the dove," reporting that the once "persecuted" bird has now "found herself on his shoulders." Now the "giant" of compassion, wisdom, and all godly things has lifted peace to the "heights of his forehead."

These obnoxious lies have been debunked by historians, such as Robert Conquest, and this would-be poet should become little more than a laughing stock for crafting these baseless claims about man who butchered millions of his own citizens.

Fifth Movement: Continuing What the Great Man Started

A wave beats against the stones of the shore.
But Malenkov will continue his work.

The final movement consists of only two lines, attempting to metaphorically liken world events to the ocean waves that beat against the rock on the ocean shore. He is suggesting that despite those who would dispute the great victor's magnanimity, the trusty leader Georgy Malenkov will replace him and continue what the great one has started.

Thus, Neruda’s communist speaker proves as feckless in predicting political succession as he is in accurately describing the Russian butcher:

Malenkov was one of the few old-time Bolsheviks who had survived Stalin’s bloody purges of the 1930s. A quiet figure who seemed to prefer working in the background, Malenkov was not taken seriously by many of his peers in the Soviet government, but under Stalin’s watchful eye he proceeded up the Communist Party hierarchy throughout the 1930s and 1940s. By the late-1940s it was widely assumed that he would succeed Stalin. When Stalin died in March 1953, Malenkov took the position of premier and first secretary of the Communist Party.

This Nerudian piece has virtually disappeared from circulation. It remains quite obvious that the so-called poet’s sycophants would censor such a piece. Still, the fact remains that censorship is never a useful endeavor. Hiding such atrocities from potential readers leaves them without the information they need to determine whose works to admire and whose works to disdain.

Pablo Neruda: Tangled Up in Lies

Eventually, Pablo Neruda's putrid doggerel will surely be assigned to the dustbin of history. His poetastric scribblings would have already faded into oblivion had they not been hoisted to their present elevation by the Marxists, who virtually control and ultimately destroy the creative arts in the United States and Europe.

In 1972, Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and this poetaster deserves the Nobel Laureateship as much as does the feckless, prevaricator Barack Obama. That prize has become irrelevant, having lost its prestige by nominating time and again individuals without accomplishment and merit.

According to Octavio Paz, Marxists poets of the early 20th century became "entangled in a mesh of lies, falsehoods, deceits and perjuries, until they lost their souls." This description accurately applies to Pablo Neruda, whose hero, Joseph Stalin, is credited with the deaths of at least 43 million people, and possibly as many as 60 million.

Pablo Neruda: Tangled Up in Lies

Pablo Neruda's writings should be assigned to the dustbin of history. And his poetastric scribblings would have faded into oblivion had they not been hoisted to their present elevation by the left-wing noise machine that virtually controls the art scene in the United States and Europe.

Neruda deserves the Nobel Laureateship as much as does the feckless, prevaricator Barack Obama. That prize has become irrelevant, having lost its prestige by nominating time and again individuals without accomplishment.

According to Octavio Paz, Marxists poets of the early 20th century became "entangled in a mesh of lies, falsehoods, deceits and perjuries, until they lost their souls." This description accurately applies to Pablo Neruda, whose hero, Joseph Stalin, is credited with the deaths of upwards of 60 million people.

Sources

Pablo Neruda and Josef Stalin

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

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