Poems for Pussy Riot: A Young Girl’s Dream by Ginna Wilkerson

Last Monday, 1 October, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – the three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot currently detained on charges of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’ – returned to court in Moscow for their appeal hearing. However, following an apparent disagreement between Samutsevich and her lawyer, the appeal against their two-year sentence has now been postponed until  Wednesday, 10 October.

To help maintain awareness of their case ahead of last Monday’s hearing, we’ve been posting daily tributes to the band, in the form of some extraordinary poems and images, on our website. These pieces and many more were published as an anthology, CATECHISM: POEMS FOR PUSSY RIOT, to coincide with the hearing. Both e-book and print on demand versions of the collection are now available, with all proceeds going to Pussy Riot’s legal fund and our Writers at Risk programme.

In the run up to Wednesday’s hearing, we will continue to post more poems and their Russian translations in order to keep their case in the public eye. Please help us by downloading, reading, sharing, tweeting, translating and remixing the amazing work produced by our Poets for Pussy Riot. 

The following contribution comes from Ginna Wilkerson and is translated by the Chicago Translation Workshop.
 

A Young Girl’s Dream

Just before the gate stood the looming
man dressed in very pale blue.
I couldn’t see his face.
I asked if he wanted to rape me.
 
He heated a pan of tar, took a scalpel from his boot
but never removed his trousers.
 
He told me to stand very still – it would go better for me,
he said. I always imagined
girls had to lie down for rape.
 
He had a sort of poker for the tar – I touched my tender core
with two fingers,
feeling it already burnt and ruined.
I stood very still like a good girl.
 
I fell face forward to the ground.
 
Three very small girls,
miniature even, peered into my face.
They ran away like
tiny St. Bernards.
I stayed still on the walkway, facedown.
 
My brothers came then and bundled my rapist to the police station.
They know nothing – they say nothing.
 
I lay motionless on the rough, cool sidewalk,
breathing the dust.
 

Сон Девушки

 
Напротив калитки зловещей тенью
стоял человек в бледно синем.
Лица его я не видела. Я спросила,
Собирается ли он меня изнасиловать.
 
Он разогрел сковородку смолы, вынул скальпель из сапога
но штанов не снимал.
 
Приказал стоять тихо – мне же легче будет,
так он сказал. Мне всегда казалось,
что девочкам надо лежать во время изнасилования.
 
У него было что-то вроде кочерги для смолы – я коснулась своей мягкой сути
двумя пальцами,
чувствуя что она уже прожжена и испорчена.
Я стояла тихо как послушная девочка.
 
Лицом вперед я повалилась наземь.
 
Три мелкие девочки,
Прямо миниатюрные, заглянули мне в лицо.
И убежали как
Малютки сен-бернары.
Я осталась лежать на обочине лицом вниз.
 
Тогда пришли мои братья, схватили моего насильника в охапку и отвели в полицию.
Ничего они не знают – ничего не говорят.
 
Я лежала неподвижно на шероховатом, прохладном тротуаре,
вдыхала пыль.
 

 

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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