Woman Life Freedom

Woman Life Freedom is a Kurdish slogan, a rallying cry challenging violent patriarchal deadly authoritarian government . Used during the protests which erupted in Iran as a response to the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2023.My poem is about women fighting for freedom, for the right to vote, to have an abortion, contraception, to say no or yes to sex, their choice, to wear what they like, to cover or uncover their hair, their bodies, to march, and shout aloud, in UK, US, Iran ,Nigeria, Afghanistan etc etc etc, millions of phenomenal women.

Woman Life Freedom
Her body was not yours,
her mind her own.
Her right to place a mark
by the politicians’ name she chose
hard won by those wild women
long ago; long skirts stained from dragging
in the dirt of prison yards; throats
too sore to swallow from gagging
on long rubber hose; stomachs drowned
in liquid-force-fed-mush; they fought on;

Their bodies were not yours.
Lillian Lenten lighting fires,
Mary Richardson smashing windows,
Emmaline Pankhurst teetering
on the edge of death-by-hunger,
Emily Davison killed by royal hooves,
Sylvia, Adela, and Christabel,
willing to win by any means
with ‘nothing off the table’
so just the fight they fought, and won

Her body is not yours.
Her womb her own to guard
from seed sown carelessly
and new life she cannot bear
amongst the stony, US soil
of resentment and despair.
Her choice alone, her right to have sex
or say NO, resist and fight for life.

Their bodies were not yours.
women in their thousands in Iran
on Women’s Day in ‘79
reject the hijab, face the threat ‘death to the unveiled.’
Masih Alinejad, Fatemeh Sepehri,
proclaim once more in 2023
their hair, their clothes, their own to wear,
to cover or uncover as they choose,
while Mahsa Amini dies in captivity
in the hands of male
guardians of ‘morality.’

Our bodies are not yours.
Our words our own to shout aloud.
All around the world, our rights
are under threat, but we stand firm,
our history erupts like lava flows
to burn away the lies, the silence, and the chokeholds
on our freedom.

Drusilla Long

Back to the International Women’s Day 2023 collection

This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *