Poems for Pussy Riot: Here, my love, listen by Karen Connelly

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On 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 next 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 next 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 next of our Poems for Pussy Riot comes from Canadian writer and poet Karen Connelly.

 

‘Here, my love, listen.’

 

1.
Here, my love, listen.
The sculpted dish of the human ear
still fills with cries
from a road where the blood
stayed for many days.
The people come slowly out
of their hiding places to collect
the scarves, the purses,
the hand-painted signs,so many voices broken away
from frozen-open mouths.
 
2.
Here where all the doors are closed
the woman turns herself
sideways to slide through the slit
of hope, the woman strips off
her shadow and stands perfectly
naked
before the crowd.
Then she begins to sing.
 
3.
Here where the spirit
becomes flesh and a million
dead sweat beside you,
the borders dissolve
with the bruised skin.
Here there is no separation.
Entering the new age
of murder,
you forsake
every weapon but the hand
thrashing a guitar.
And the voice, the unruly voice,
raising its riot
of song.
 

1.
Слушай, любовь моя, слушай.
Лепная ваза твоего уха
еще полнится криками
с улицы, где кровь
долго не выцветала.
Люди выползают из нор
И собирают осколки:
Шарфы, сумочки,
Самодельные плакаты,
Обломки звуков, сорванных
с губ, застывших в крике.

 

2.
Здесь, где все двери заперты,
женщина протискивается боком
в узкую щель надежды,
женщина сдирает с себя тень
и остается голой
перед толпой.
И начинает петь.

 

3.
Здесь, где дух
обретает плоть, и миллионы
трупов потеют рядом,
границы растворяются
в ее ссадинах и ранах.
Здесь нет разделенья.
На входе в новый век,
век убийств,
нет важней оружия, чем рука,
бьющая по струнам.
И голос, непокорный голос,
поднимающий восстание
песни.

Translated by I.M

 

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