Communicator (communicator) wrote,

'Mother of God banish Putin'

Carol Rumens in the Guardian has posted her own translation of the Pussy Riot 'Punk Prayer'. You can read it here preceded by her explanation of some of her translation choices.

Most significantly I think she explains that the line which is generally rendered in English (on the BBC for example) as 'Shit, shit, God is shit' is actually saying something more like 'Crap, crap, this godliness crap'. The word in the middle is an adjective meaning piety, and the poem is decrying the false piety of religious leaders who support state repression.Did you know the head of the Russian Orthodox church is ex-KGB?

I am very interested in the translation of poetry, and it is also interesting to see how powerful and dangerous poetry continues to be. Of course it is all very well me saying 'interesting' when these poor girls, not much older than my daughter, are in a prison camp.

Full text of Carol Rumens translation below the cut. It's a powerful piece even in translation. I am increasingly annoyed with people who say it was offensive and blasphemous. This is legitimate religious poetry, with a fair point to make.

Punk prayer
By Pussy Riot trans. Carol Rumens

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish Putin, banish Putin,
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish him, we pray thee!
Congregations genuflect,
Black robes brag gilt epaulettes,
Freedom's phantom's gone to heaven,
Gay Pride's chained and in detention.

KGB's chief saint descends
To guide the punks to prison vans.
Don't upset His Saintship, ladies,
Stick to making love and babies.
Crap, crap, this godliness crap!
Crap, crap, this holiness crap!


Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Be a feminist, we pray thee,
Be a feminist, we pray thee.
Bless our festering bastard-boss.
Let black cars parade the Cross.

The Missionary's in class for cash.
Meet him there, and pay his stash.
Patriarch Gundy believes in Putin.
Better believe in God, you vermin!
Fight for rights, forget the rite –

Join our protest, Holy Virgin.


Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish Putin, banish Putin,
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, we pray thee, banish him!

  • Phew what a scorcher

    I see Gove has backed down on climate change and it's back in the curriculum again.

  • GCSE Computer Science

    My book is now for sale

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    At the moment I have set up this journal so that only friends can comment. I hate doing this, but I was just getting too much Russian spam.

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