Poems for Pussy Riot: Because The Poets Know by Tony Walsh

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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. In the weeks leading up to their appeal hearing on 1 October, we are posting daily tributes to the band, in the form of some extraordinary poems and images. Several contributors to the project will also be reading their work as part of a peaceful protest outside the Russian Embassy in London, 11- 1pm, one of many protests due to take place across the globe that day.

The following contribution comes from UK performance poet and writer Longfella aka Tony Walsh.

 

Because The Poets Know

Because the poets know
Because the poets feel
Because the poets understand
Because the poets think
Because the poets see
Because the poets take a stand
 
Because the poets move
Because the poets stir 
Because the poets write it down
Because the poets blaze 
Because the poets rage
Because the poets say it loud

And some may abhor us
And some just ignore us
And sometimes we suffer slings
But some times they laud us
And some lands applaud us
And sometimes they crown us kings
 
But some raid our stages
And some burn our pages
And some throw us into cells
And sometimes they tape us
And sometimes they rape us
And some die in living hells
 
And sometimes we’re banished
And sometimes we’re vanished
And some drive us from our lands
And some persecute us
And some execute us
And some chop off poets’ hands
 
And sometimes we’re tortured
And sometimes we’re slaughtered
And some cut out poets’ tongues
But sometimes they hear us
And sometimes they cheer us
And sometimes they sing our songs

Because the poets know
Because the poets feel
Because the poets understand
Because the poets think
Because the poets see
Because the poets take a stand
 
Because the poets move
Because the poets stir 
Because the poets write it down
Because the poets blaze 
Because the poets rage
Because the poets say it loud

If you are a poet
If I am a poet
If we are all poets, say loud:
 
“Your pressure and violence
will beat neither silence
nor soul from a poet.” Stand proud!

 

© Tony Walsh 2006

 

 

Poems for Pussy Riot posts

Poems for Pussy Riot – an introduction to the project

Soutien-Gorge: Ira Lightman

Vagina: Sophie Mayer

Song: Ali Smith

Abridged and Complete Biography of Olympe de Gouge: Claire Trévien

Women of the Year: Betty Doyle

Weapons of Minor Destruction: Sandra Alland

Our Glorious Leader Putin: Jack Underwood

Cat Power: Amy Key

Avoid using the word “pussy”: Charlotte Geater

Poem with Four Vaginal Walls: Mark Burnhope

Sheela na gig (deconstructed): Sarah Crewe

Dance of the Seven Veils: Alison Croggon

Skylined: Gareth Evans

Vox Populi (A poem for voices): Steve Heighton

The Eye of the Needle: Aoife Mannix

Ne (No): Wayne Burrows

Vaginaland: Jen Campbell

We Jew women: Translated by Marek Kazmierski

Thirst: John Siddique

Elegy in Red: Chris Emslie

Theatre: Fathieh Saudi

Three Sisters: Tim Dooley

Some Protest Stones: Sarah Hesketh

Please welcome to the stage: Alex MacDonald

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