The Love Song of Otakar Svec

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Svec won a competition to build the then-biggest monument to Stalin in Prague. He never saw the unveiling. His wife, Vlasta, predeceased him.

My dear,

It is not fair to speak of dreams.I entered the competition, and nowit is not a statue I build, but an effigy.I have wondered how to make terrortouch Stalin’s brow, but I am on sucha scale that detail is contrary to purpose.

I jest, Vlasta, if we were able we wouldsneak past the guards and writePLEASE on Stalin’s knee.But you are not here, and I dream of you,I would build a statue of perfect form,with your horrified face, and erect it opposite

the other statue. A staring contest!In a few weeks they will finish it,every man quivering with the party’s reception,and I confess I do not care,I had your reaction every day, and it is gone,I have only communism to look at the ceiling at night.

I am sure you thought it best,and these notes are usually for the living,but I write for the dead. When peoplesee the statue, I hope they see fear –the fear of the man who made a Stalin,the fear that makes me go.

© Neilson Shane