[deutsche Nachdichtung: weiter unten]

“Many believe that Zangief entered the tournament out of his fierce respect for his country, but they are only partially correct. Zangief loves his country, but he loves to stomp on his opponents even more. What else would you expect from a man who wrestles bears for fun?” –SNES manual

Arriving on the black isle’s shores alone,

the Russian picks his partner from the trees,

fur stinking of shit, its idle drone

a waltz, the final dance of amputees.

His thumb pushes back its narrow skull,

the claw lacerations masked by ginseng,

the thin air, leaving his sense so dull

that the snap of its neck is unconvincing.

It makes a map of Russia with its death:

the ice cracking beneath it, slick with red.

Perhaps this is why the wrestler hefts

the beast a mile back to the boat instead

of cleaning wounds or bandaging his veins:

he bleeds until he sees those stars again.

© Ross Sutherland

„Viele glauben, dass Zangief aus leidenschaftlicher Liebe zu seinem Land dem Wettkampf beigetreten ist, aber das stimmt nur zum Teil. Zwar liebt Zangief sein Land, aber viel mehr noch als das liebt er es, seine Gegner plattzumachen. Was sollte man auch sonst von einem Mann erwarten, der aus Übermut mit Bären ringt?“ (SNES-Handbuch)

Als er allein an den Stränden der schwarzen Insel anlandet,

pflückt sich der Russe seinen Gespielen von den Bäumen,

Pelz stinkt nach Scheiße, sein leeres Dröhnen

ein Walzer, ein letzter Tanz unter Amputierten.

Sein Daumen biegt die schmale Rummel nach hinten,

die Klauenwunden, bedeckt mit Ginseng,

die dünne Luft, benebeln seine Sinne derart,

dass das Brechen des Genicks wenig überzeugt ist.

Eine Flächenkarte von Russland fertigt es an mit seinem Tod:

Unter ihm bricht das Eis auf, rötlicher Schlick.

Vielleicht hievt der Ringer deshalb

das Untier eine ganze Meile bis zum Boot, statt

seine Wunden zu säubern und seine Venen zu verbinden:

Er blutet, bis er diese Sterne wiedersieht.

© Deutsche Nachdichtung: Konstantin Ames

15 Kommentare

  • apollo7

    Zangief, a russian character in a videogame is known for fighting for the glory of his country. The text sais that Zangief picks his “partner” from the tree. This partner has “fur stinking of shit” and “claw” which refers mostly to a bear. A bear is a significant factor of the russian culture which reveals, that Zangief beats his culture, so that animals death marks the russian map. This leads back to the small text before the poem, where Sutherland writes about Zangiefs passion about beating up people not only for his country but also for his own pleasure.

    • cheryl

      This is a very simple view of the story that in forces the animals , the bears, significance in the Russian culture. I like the explanation that is very detailed, yet straight to the point.

    • florapora

      Zangrief is presented as not only a murder but also as someone who died for his land. i think that plays a big factor in the poem and the history of zangrief. “it makes a map of russia with his death” he dies for russia. he will bleed into russian grounds, and with that also into the history of russia.

    • tabea

      I really appreciate your thoughts about this poem and I share similar deliberation about this writing with you. One of the key figures to understand and to be able to interpret this poem (in my opinion) is to know this (what you brought up); Zangief beats up people for his country and own pleasure. This ties in with the fact (which I read about in Ross Sutherland’s notes on “Zangief”: http://comment.lettretage.de/ross-sutherland-notes-on-zangief/ ) that the other characters from the video game series “Street Fighter”, which was also for what Zangief was created, are all reduced to one character trait. I would interpret Zangief’s single character trait like this: Zangief’s only purpose and passion in life is to beat people up for his home country Russia and to beat people up merely for the pleasure of the action. The warrior possesses almost a patriotic love for his country for he would fight, kill, and murder for it until his eventual death: “Perhaps this is why the wrestler hefts the beast a mile back to the boat instead of cleaning wounds or bandaging his veins: …”. In the text this is written: “he bleeds until he sees those stars again.”. I will refer to the “the stars” as another way to talk about the old russian (soviet) flag, which was the flag of the one-party state the “Soviet Union” which lasted from 1922 until 1991. “The stars” therefore refer to Russia. Zangief or, to be more specific, Ross Sutherland refers to Russia when saying this. Also this is stated: “It makes a map of Russia with its death: …” . Once again the fact that Zangief would die for this country and that his only hope and purpose of life is Russia and to fight for the state, is stated. It is possible that Zangief is in the state of dying or already dead during this point in the poem (probably after he fought for his country): “ … he bleeds until he sees those stars again.” He bleeds refers to him being dead/dying. For the purpose of my comment, let’s just say he is dead. But he will come alive when he “… sees those stars again.” because his home country gives him life, passion and hope. Well, he probably will not come alive literally but at least his soul, ghost, supernatural feature or something likewise will revive when seeing his beloved country (= those stars) .

  • lny

    You better watch out
    You better not die

    You better not pout
    I’m telling you why

    Red Cyclone is coming to town

    He has muscles so big
    like a fat pig

    with fur stinking of shit
    hell kill you with it

    Red Cyclone is coming to town

    if you make him cross
    hell show whose the boss

    the snap of your neck,
    now your dead.

  • kest

    This poem reveals the truth of war. Zangrief in this case is a fierce warrior who is so used to death, darkness and isolation, and so he has no respect left for the fallen “His thumb pushes back its narrow skull,”. This is the way war changes people: it makes them cold and sterile to feelings. For Zangrief it all comes down to survive and win, no matter what he has to doto achieve this goal. He becomes myopic, because he does not take in the grief of death, but only urges himself to keep fighting to stay alive.

  • Although I couldn’t really tell what the poem wants to reveal about the true intention of Zangief – the patriotic, fearless warrior who is committed to his own motherland – I think that now after reading the delineation of his character (http://streetfighter.wikia.com/wiki/Zangief) I realized that he is not as gory as he might appear. The source says that he’s “easily misled”, but “good-natured” at times and therefore trapped in his national hero way of thinking, leading him to destroy everything which someone persuaded him to be “bad” and the enemy. So it is possible that Zangief is not intentionally trying to defeat his own country by massacring bears, the symbol of the Russian culture. He could has become uncounsciously a killing machine, blinded by the patriotic mindset plus the aims of other people who try to use him as a weapon.
    I also agree with you, kest, that the poem could portray the monotonous and cold atmosphere a war brings along to persons affected by it. I feel like this doesn’t only refer to the character in the video game Street Fighter but also to us all in the “real world”. There is actually a lot of meaning behind it, and it depends on how the reader identify him/herself with the character or theme in the poem.
    This is my interpretation regarding to the questionable (or contradictory) actions of the “Red Cyclon”.

  • kest

    Reading the other comments above makes me realize that people interperate the stories differently, because of their beliefs, interests and experienceds. I for example take interest is war and how it affects us in modern time and so interperated the poem as an insight on war.

  • paulineschaedel

    In this Poem Zangief is shown as a brave Person and that he died for his Country.. It is quite short but still written with a lot of Details which makes the peom interesting. ” Many believe that Zangief entered he tournament out of his fierce resepct for his Country..” her it shows again that he also had resepect for his land.

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