Poems for Pussy Riot: Abridged and Complete Biography of Olympe de Gouges by Claire Trévien

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On 13 September, English PEN launched ‘Poems for Pussy Riot‘ in support of three members of the Russian punk band –  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – who are currently serving a  two year prison sentence. We will be posting poems dedicated to Nadezdha, Maria and Yekaterina in the weeks leading up to their appeal hearing on 1 October.

The following contribution comes from poet, writer and literary translator Claire Trévien.

 

Abridged and Complete Biography of Olympe de Gouges

You were born on a tongue of land
resting on a tit,
from which sprung willows that
made the slightest wind look like snow
no wonder you left
for the singeing gash of Paris where
 
they called you a he-woman at the slice
for daring to spunk for women’s rights. If
 
a woman can be brought to the scaffold,
you said, she should be allowed to fucking
shout! Thank fuck
 
you roar in the archives, slobbering over
the filing system! You’re an army of sixty kings
and no subject, you’re a butcher and his widow,
you’re every Mary I’ve watched
eat a tax collector for lunch
and still have room for a groom. Your plays
haven’t washed in two hundred years
and grow brown at the armpits. So what
if they stink and whistle at men in the street?
at least they don’t give a shit about our precious
feelings,
 
you’re a willow soaked in blood and set on fire
and when the wind gusts
you shit on it.

 

 

Other Poems for Pussy Riot posts

Poems for Pussy Riot – an introduction to the project

Soutien-Gorge: Ira Lightman

Vagina: Sophie Mayer

Song: Ali Smith

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