Questions of Progress

If you hear the word “radium,” do you think of Marie Curie,

Of the thousands she saved by radiation therapy,

Of a woman who died for the love – in the name – of science,

The first woman to break certain barriers of defiance?


Do you hear the sound of Spring after Rachel Carson’s work,

The whistles and hoots of nature that is free to roam,

How pesticides only seem to contaminate and poison and irk,

And destroy ecosystems that are what something, someone calls home?


Has Rosalind Franklin inspired your thoughts of DNA,

About the double helix that intertwines to make our genes,

How else would we attain the cellular progress of today,

If it were not for a woman who succeeded by any means?


Does the name Jane Addams stir a sense of peace in your soul,

A noble kind of peace, one that encompassed the world as a whole,

One that transcends categories of gender and age and war,

From shore to shining shore?


Would you go as far as Erin Brockovich did to take a stand,

Sacrifice your personal life to fight against the notorious corporations,

That seek to adulterate, vitiate, devastate our precious land

With copious chemicals that turn content residents into helpless patients?


Had I answered “No,” I would ask myself how much I genuinely value,

The wonderful women of peace, of science, of the environment,

Who adamantly asserted themselves despite it being taboo,

To acknowledge that women have capable minds in a society that is virulent.


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