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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Women, Libya

          Ask the experienced, not the wise one, Arab proverb

The ladies room is empty but for two.
Whisper – May I borrow just a few bullets,
I have an urgent need now
.  Two handfuls
move from one handbag to the next.

She’s on her way to the secret hospital
in her uncle’s flat – a rebel needs an
operation – she’ll exchange the bullets
for anesthesia vials, stolen…

printers, guns, money – women have
a way.  Secret phone calls to TV and radio,
the world hears a woman’s voice calm,
it represents a people they are half of,

skilled, not just wise, and now is the time
to drive cars alone, build hospitals, to control
towns and people they’ve nurtured since birth
to stand and fight.  And believe they can

hoist the red of the flag, color of blood shed
when they shot at soldiers and the fiery blossoms
of pomegranate, the green for a new spring unfolding,
girls and women planted on the ground in plain sight.

© Lavinia Kumar

Libya’s War-Tested Women Hope to Keep New Power
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.


  1. I suspect it will take a long time for the green flag to remain permanently hoisted (as indeed the new found 'freedom' of women after WW2) yet hope springs eternal.

    Anna :o]

    PS I did attempt to leave a comment yesterday, but it disappeared into thin air!

  2. This poem, is so 'on the ground'! When women take a leading role there is hope for a change from the usual tit for tat child like nonsense served up as politics. Unfortunately, in these patriarchal societies they will be up against centuries of oppression hiding behind religious misinterpretation.
    You might find this interesting. http://staffordray.blogspot.com/search?q=lysistrata