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10th Fragment - The Women Speak

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Helen and Andromache

Andromache, you greeted me with gladness
When first I came to Troy, a stranger stolen from her land
Trailing rumors, threats of war like ribbons in my hair
Sister named me, and never once have blamed for woe brought to thy shore
More proper queen to Hector and thy people than I to Sparta

Men see insult in the workings of the Gods, where pity would more serve:
'Tis Aphrodite Paris sees — and loves — in me, not Helen.
And for that they will make war. Nothing now will stop them.

You see Helen: me, not her. And loveth me still.


Cassandra weeps, words of blood unheard by those who should her heed.
'Tis of too little use that mother, sisters, other women
Hear and know her sight for true

Ours is not the ordering of armies, but of homes, hearths, heirs they say,
And brothers, husbands, sons, do send to battle, hearts unarmored
Unwarned into the fray

Upon the walls we wait. We are the last defense, though they deny
That we have power, minds and hands and skill at weapons they dismiss:
We will endure, bear, teach, sing: our love and lessons will live on
When we are gone.

Helen and Andromache