Poems by the Young Stalin


To the Moon

Sail on, as tirelessly as ever,
Above an earth obscured by clouds,
And with your shining glow of silver
Dispel the fog that now abounds.

With languor, bend your lovely neck,
Lean down to earth with tender smile.
Sing lullabies to Mount Kazbek,
Whose glaciers reach for you on high.

But know for certain, he who had
Once been oppressed and cast below,
Can scale the heights of Mount Mtatsminda,
Exalted by undying hope.

Shine on, up in the darkened sky,
Frolic and play with pallid rays,
And, as before, with even light,
Illuminate my fatherland.

I’ll bare my breast to you, extend
My arm in joyous greeting, too.
My spirit trembling, once again
I’ll glimpse before me the bright moon.

Iveria, No. 123 (1895)
He knocked on strangers’ doors,
Going from house to house,
With an old oaken panduri
And that simple song of his.

But in his song, his song—
Pure as the sun’s own gleam—
Resounded a truth profound,
Resounded a lofty dream.

Hearts that had turned to stone
Were made to beat once more;
In many, he’d rouse a mind
That slumbered in deepest murk.

But instead of the laurels he’d earned,
The people of his land
Fed the outcast poison,
Placing a cup in his hand.

They told him: “Damned one, you must
Drink it, drain the cup dry…
Your song is foreign to us,
We prefer to live in a lie!”

Iveria, no. 218 (1895)

The bud has blossomed; now the rose
Touches the tender violet.
The lily, bent above the grass
By gentle breezes, slumbers not.

The lark, signing its chirping hymn,
Soars high above the clouds;
Meanwhile, the nightingale intones
With sweet, mellifluous sounds:

“Break forth in bloom, Iberian land!
Let joy within you reign.
While you must study, little friend,
And please your motherland!”

Iveria, no. 280 (1895)