For Peace from a War Victim

May 12, 2014

I have written poetry. Not that much and not recently but I have written poetry that has been published. It started shortly after I gave birth to my son, Luke. I had no time to write prose but when I would snatch an afternoon (something I still do today), I would wake up with a line of poetry in my head (I could always see the words through my Third Eye vision) and quickly jot it down before taking Luke out for a walk in the stroller or for a push on the swings in the park down the block from where we lived on Simcoe St., north of Vimy Ridge Park, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was as if I had no more time to write than scribbling down these lines for poems so that is what The Universe gave me to satisfy my creative urges.

The prose poem I am sharing with you here is called a found poem. It is taking part of a piece of writing, quoting it and then having your own words to create a poem spring out of you.

This one was something I created for an idea spearheaded by Canadian poets including Dorothy Livesay and Betsy Warlan. Each week for an entire Members of Parliament in the House of Commons received a different poem from a different woman who wanted world peace. This was at a time when nuclear war was constantly threatening the people of the world. 

We made an extremely powerful statement. This is my contribution:

Women’s Peace Write/Rite Des Femmes Pour La Paix

the week of April 6 – 12, 1986

For Peace from a War Victim

by Tanya Lester

“When you carry your child nine months in your womb, bear it in labour with death all round you, only to find the monstrous weapons of imperial technology have assaulted you even there, you carry the war deep inside you.” *

When you hurry home with keys in your hand, and man comes up from behind and attacks you halfway across the bridge two city blocks length from your apartment, you carry the war deep inside you.

When you don’t have supper on the table, and your husband gives you a black eye and shoves you down to the floor and forces your legs apart and rapes you in your own home, you carry the war deep inside you.

When your father says he’ll tuck you in, but straddles you instead and breaks your vagina open in your own bed, you carry the war deep inside you.

When you see a woman being forced through a meat grinder, her insides spilling out like ground beef and you know she’s you, you carry the war deep inside you.

When I say war is pain, being seared outside in scorched inside out and YOU have the power to end it if YOU call on the strength of the core of YOUR being, I’m screaming it from deep inside me.

* The quote used about is Sheila Rowbotham’s emotional response to her own account of how the Vietnamese women experienced “an abnormally high percentage of miscarriages, stillbirths and deformed children, born with large heads and small brains” from the toxic gases of the bombs dropped in 1961. Taken from her Women, Resistance and Revolution (London, 1972).


For the first posts in this blog, go to

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Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased by going to the title and author name at or from me, the author









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