Women Poetry: Ms. Virginia Jasmin Pasalo, Philippines

Exclusive: Women Poetry: Edited by Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy
Virginia Jasmin Pasalo


raped, you lay there
beside your defiler
in a meadow, full of flowers
a temple for the pure

defiled by a higher god
too powerful to get blame
by a lesser god
you took the wrath

snakes for your hair
no reason, no justice
but caprice
the will of the gods

your body, your hair
your head
theirs, for the picking.


I want you to stop looking at my breasts 
like a famished overgrown calf
these are the same as the others
the same as your mother’s

I want you to stop exploring my terrain
like a logger takes the landscape
doing anything, everything
as he wills

I want you to look at me, not as the ground
to dig and penetrate and dominate
but to be engulfed in the mystery of my abyss

I want you to look at me
not as a woman coming from your rib
but you, coming out of my womb

Virginia Jasmin Pasalo is the founding Chairperson of the Women in Development Foundation. For her extensive and valuable engagement with women, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo appointed her as the first representative of the women sector in the Board of Trustees of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Ms. Pasalo has authored and edited books on poetry, history, culture and development and has been recognized and cited for her initiatives in fostering culture and environmental activism. She has been awarded various fellowships from several countries. She is a Fellow of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, USA.

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