Struggle Not in Vain

Written for:  Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads – Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman : Being a Woman in Times Like These

“The noted Canadian writer of poetry and prose, Margaret Atwood, is the award-winning author of forty works, including fiction, poetry and critical essays.

Perhaps her most famous work is The Handmaid’s Tale, written in 1985 and now considered prophetic, which was made into a popular television series. This work is a dystopian view of a regime that is extremely oppressive to women. A famous quote from the film speaks of “making things better,” tellingly explaining, “Better doesn’t mean better for everyone.” I’ll say.

The setting is near Boston in the U.S., with Canada portrayed as the only hope of escape. Not so far from today’s reality, in my opinion, though Canada has its problems, too. Recent U.S. legislation affecting women’s reproductive rights makes this projected vision of a dystopian future seem dangerously close.

Write from the viewpoint of a man or woman living in the times depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale. It feels freaky, how close we are to entering this reality. But we won’t go quietly. Hell, no!

If you aren’t familiar with The Handmaid’s Tale, write from the point of view of a woman living in – or escaping from – oppression or abuse. Perhaps a woman in your family history – or you yourself – has an amazing story.


Terrifying to think
that a book of fiction
suddenly isn’t.

I have been watching
a television show
about midwives in
the East End of London
in the 1950’s. Eight
children, ten children,
twenty children birthed
by mothers who are poor,
bitter, and without options.
Is this where women will
wind up, cranking the
clock backwards, no choices,
no say? NO WAY!

Can you see young women
of today begging to give
up careers to become
baby factories?  Very slowly
with slyness in plain sight,
women can be divested
of all rights.


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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20 Responses to Struggle Not in Vain

  1. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar says:

    Call the Midwife. I like Handmaid’s Tale.. but LOVE Call the Midwife. I’m sure that is the series you are referring!


  2. This was happening in my lifetime. I remember. I am worried about what can happen when rights and choices are lost. And when women’s voices are not included in legislation.


  3. memadtwo says:

    To quote Joni, “Don’t it always seem to go/ that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”
    Many young people are complacent. They’ve always had these rights, and haven’t figured out that you need to be vigilant, or it may be taken away. (K)


  4. Susie Clevenger says:

    Powerful is not the time for silence or being complacent.


  5. Helen says:

    Straightforward, you composed this well.


  6. kanzensakura says:

    Very well composed. Good write


  7. Actually it’s already happening… remember also that i’s also it’s driven by racism in the sense that we fear that too many children will be borne with brown skin.


  8. Lori says:

    When fiction becomes fact. It made me think about working women vs women working. We are not just baby factories but productive members of society.


  9. sanaarizvi says:

    I hope to God that the fate of women worldwide is not comprised! Powerful poem, Sara ❤️


  10. Kerry says:

    Your first three lines sum the whole irony up perfectly! We have to keep the protests alive to ensure the story does not come true.


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