Militants to Certain Other Women
You who pass coldly by when the police rush upon us,
When they wrench away our banners,
(Beautiful banners whose colors cry a demand for liberty)
You who criticize or condemn
(Declaring you “believe in suffrage,
Worked for it in your state, and your mother
knew Susan B. Anthony”)
Can you think in terms of a nation?
Could you die, (or face ridicule) for your belief?
For the freedom of women, for your freedom,
we are fighting;
For your safety we face danger, bear torture;
For your honor endure untellable insult.
To win democracy for you we defend the banners of democracy
Till our banners and our bodies
Are flung together on the pavement,
Waiting at the gates of government,
We have made of our weariness a symbol
Of women’s long wait for justice.
We have borne the hunger and hardship of prison,
To open people’s eyes
To men’s determination to imprison the power of women.
You women who pass coldly by,
Do you imagine your freedom is coming
As a summer wind blows over fields?
Slowly it has advanced by a sixty-years’ war,
(Those who have fought in it have not forgotten)
And that war is not won.
Strongly entrenched, the foe sits plotting.
Close to his lines our banners fly,
Signalling where to direct the fire,
Greater forces are needed, reserves and recruits.
Are you for winning or for waiting,
Women who watch the banners go down?
Women who say, “Suffrage is coming,”
While suffrage goes by you into Prussia?
Case to be content with applauding speeches, and praising politicians.
Patience is shameful.
Awake, rise, and act.
This poem is in the public domain.