A Poem for World Poetry Day − 21 March 2017

We Face This Land

by Sarah Maria Griffin

Centuries ago,
Women accused of witchcraft faced, amongst other ordeals,
Trial by water

Tied to a chair or run under a boat
If she survives the drowning and floats
She’s a witch. If she dies, she’s a woman

We are not witches but if the church and state insists
Then let us be the descendants of all the witches they could not drown
This heirloom of trauma, this curse

This agony of water in order to hold agency over our bodies
Not all of us have survived, the waves do not part
There are no miracles here

When the stethoscope is a crucifix on your belly
How do you have any choice but the water
And fair medical treatment on another

A body is a body is a body is a body is a body is a body is a body

Not a house. Not a city. Not a vessel, not a country
The laws of the church have no place on your flesh

A veterinarian will abort a calf if a cow is falling ill. How is it that livestock is
worth more to this land than us

Eleven women every day leave Ireland seeking an abortion abroad.

We ask for the land over the water. Home over trial. Choice over none.

For our foremothers, ourselves, the generations yet to come
Witches or women – these are our bodies which shall not be given up

WEBLINK. Reprinted with kind permission of the poet.

We Face This Land video