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This poem is taken from PN Review 46, Volume 12 Number 2, November - December 1985.

Two Poems Carol Rumens

REVOLUTIONARY WOMEN

Nechayev, dreaming of Tsar-death,
wrote about three categories of women,
and how they could be harnessed to the cause.
The first he dismissed as painted, empty.
You could twist them, break them, toss them away.
The second were good comrades, passionate
idealists, willing workers,
but dangerous finally, and disappointing
- their values weren't political at all:
- they too must be discarded or reformed.
The third kind were the true revolutionaries;
deft with gun-oil, bullets, high explosive.
They'd take a lover only for his secrets,
milk him fast and leave him in his blood.

I know I'm with the second sort, cherishing
...


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