Poems for Pussy Riot: Prayer and Pussy Riot Have Three Letters in Common by Veronica Zundel

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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 Veronica Zundel and is translated James Taylor.

 

Prayer and Pussy Riot Have Three Letters in Common

 
So here I am in church,
a Mennonite church: 
a tradition which includes
women in plain dress and headscarves
and elder-prescribed spriggy fabric patterns;
men in beards but never military moustaches
and trouser braces but never gun-toting belts;
buggies and stationary diesel engines,
mobiles but no world-linked landlines
laptops but maybe not the internet
– not to mention debates on the sinfulness of buttons
and a long slow walk to the twenty-first century
 
and it’s Sunday
and here we are praying together,
out loud, by name
for Pussy Riot.
 
And God is smiling.

 
На Английском Языке, Слова ‘Молитва’ и ‘Пусси Райот’ Имеют Три Общие Буквы

 
И вот я здесь, в церкви,
церкви меннонитов:
традиция, которая включает в себя
женщины в простой одежде и платках
и престарелыми предписанных моделей ветвистый ткани;
мужчины в бороду, но никогда не военная усы
и брючные подтяжки, но никогда не пистолет-тащил ремни;
багги и стационарные дизельные двигатели,
мобильные, но без мировых связанных стационарных телефонов,
ноутбуки, но, возможно, без интернета
– Не говоря уже о дискуссиях на греховность кнопки
и длинной медленной ходьбы до двадцать первого века
 
и это воскресенье
и здесь мы молимся вместе,
вслух, по названию
для Пусси Райот.
 
и Бог улыбается.

 

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