When women go to war

It will not be pretty
As much as you might like to think
That we would bring a feminine touch.

It may seem strange
But we have trained most diligently
In trenches just as terrorist as yours:
The birth, the bed, the brothel.
These were the places where we were the spoils of war,
Tarnished medal climbing rank.

Surely it will not shock
When at last we go to war –
We have always harboured enemies within our breasts,
Despising every bloodbeat as treachery.

Still it may surprise a little,
Your bleak eyes opening
When we do not rain down in spear
Catastrophe of gun or bomb.
Instead each woman, calmly as a knife,
Will simply turn away from you.
Don’t titilate yourself by thinking we will embrace each other
Slick thigh to slick thigh and
Farm you as you have done your animals.

We are as capable of cruelty as you.

And so, when the time comes
Each woman will leave the field, the factory,
The suburban noose that comforts
At the appointed hour.
Solemn as the coming drum
And taking every girl child with us
We will start walking

To the desert, to the forest, to the bush.
No food or water, resting never,
Not until there is a swathe of bodies
Laid out along each road,
Every mewling baby quiet
Until the air is still as doom.
Desiccated by the sun, mad to the moon with thirst
We will wage war.
Then with relentless tyranny
We will lay down to die as bulbs to never bloom
Ending life at last
As you have longed to do.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.


  1. Every high school teacher who ever taught ‘war poetry’ just lost their shit. This is a sledgehammer swung hard and true.

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