Meridel Le Sueur: Doàn Kêt

Read more about Meridel Le Sueur her writings (click here for more information and purchase)

When you select any Amazon item to buy from the Voices Education Project web site, and then check out at, a portion of your purchase price will be paid to Voices to support our work.

When Meridel was 10 years old, her mother moved her and her younger brothers to Perry, Oklahoma to live with their grandmother, Mary Antoinette Lucy. Mary Antoinette was a third-generation Puritan, an ardent temperance worker, and a pioneer. Meridel’s mother, Marian Wharton traveled the Chautauqua circuit and lectured on women’s issues such as education, suffrage, and birth control, to earn a living for her family. In 1914 Meridel moved, with her family, to Fort Scott, Kansas where she headed the English department at People’s College. In 1917, Marian met a lawyer and committed socialist, and former mayor if Minot, North Dakota, Arthur Le Sueur. They were married that same year. After anti-socialist vigilantes destroyed the college during World War I, the family fled to St. Paul, Minnesota where they worked with the Non-Partisan League and were hosts to meetings of Wobblies, anarchists, socialists, and union organizers.

Between the years of 1916 and 1917, Meridel studied dance and physical fitness at the American College of Physical Education in Chicago, Illinois. Shortly after, she moved to New York City, where she lived in an anarchist commune with Emma Goldman. While there, she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Le Sueur had a brief acting career in New York City and in Hollywood, where she was a stuntwoman and an extra in a few films, such as The Perils of Pauline and the Last of the Mohicans. “Fed up with the Hollywood meat market, Le Sueur decided to concentrate on her writing, which she had pursued faithfully since her late teens. By 1924 she had joined the Communist Party and she soon began publishing in labor and left wing journals such as The Worker and New Masses. Her writing career took off in May 1927 when her short story, "Persephone," was published in Dial. Le Sueur became known for her stories, essays, and reportage focusing on the suffering of the working class, mainly women, and her distinctive, lyrical style, which set her apart from most of the socialist writers of the day.”

In 1926, Le Sueur married Russian immigrant and Marxist labor organizer, Harry Rice (Born Yasha Rubonoff). They met in St. Paul and had two children together. However, in the 1930’s they divorced.

Meridel Le Sueur continued to publish abundantly throughout the late 1920s and all through World War II. However, the onset of the Cold War brought "blacklisting" and "harassment" of those people involved in the socialist movement. Le Sueur then made her living publishing children's books, teaching writing, and holding a variety of odd jobs during the height of the "Red Scare" and later, during the 1960s, she traveled the country participating in campus protests, interviewing people, and listening to the stories and struggles of those people.

"The freer political climate and the burgeoning feminist movement of the 1970s brought new attention to Le Sueur and her work." She maintained an extraordinary correspondence with writers, activists, artists. Many of these people were drawn to her dedication to liberal political, environmental, and economic causes. From the late 1970s through the 1990s Meridel published a number of anthologies and stories, many of which written during the 1930s, but were rejected for publication at the time.


Doàn Kêt

Reconciliation program following the Vietnam (American) War.  It offered more to the middle and upper ranks of the enemy hierarchy than the Chieu Hoi amnesty program. This program included provisions that returnees would be employed in accordance with their ability, presumably in positions at a level comparable to those they had in the enemy system. This added a bit to the motivation of senior persons who might be inclined to terminate their relationship with the enemy. This program also included a re-educational process before personnel were declared graduates and returned to full citizenship status. 


How can we touch each other, my sisters?
How can we hear each other over the criminal space?
How can we touch each other over the agony of bloody roses?
I always feel you near, your sorrow like a wind in the
great legend of your resistance, your strong and delicate strength.

It was the bumble bee and the butterfly who survived,
not the dinosaur.

None of my sons or grandsons took up guns against you.

And all the time the predators were poisoning the humus, polluting
the water, the hooves of empire passing over us all. White 
hunters were aiming down the gunsights; villages wrecked
mine and yours. Defoliated trees, gnawed earth, blasted embryos.

We also live in a captive country, in the belly of the shark.
The horrible faces of our predators, gloating, leering,
the bloody Ford and Rockefeller and Kissinger presiding over
the violation of Asia.

Mortgaging, blasting, claiming earth and women in the chorale
of flayed flesh and hunger, the air crying of carbon and thievery.

Our mutual flesh lights the sulphur emanation of centuries of 
exploitation. Amidst the ruins we shine forth in holy mutual
cry, revealing the plainest cruelties and human equation,
the deprivations of power and the strength of numbers and
endurance and the holy light from the immortal wound.

The only knowledge now is the knowledge of the dispossessed.
Our earth itself screams like a bandaged, roaring giant about
to rise in all its wounds and bear upon the conqueror.

Lock your doors in the cities.

There are no quiet dead - and no quiet deed.
Everything you touch now is ticking to its explosion.
The scab is about to infect.
The ruined land is dynamite. Cadmus teeth of dead guerrillas
gnaw the air. Nature returns all wounds as warriors.
The Earth plans resistance and cries, “Live”.

What strikes you, my sisters, strikes us all. The global earth
is resonant, communicative.
Conception is instant solidarity of the child.
Simultaneity of the root drives the green sap of the flower.
In the broken, the dispossessed is the holy cry.

We keep our tenderness alive and the nourishment of the earth green.
The heart is central as lava.
We burn in each other. We burn and burn.
We shout in choruses of millions.
We appear armed as mothers, grandmothers, sisters, warriors.
We burn.


Sisters, the predators plan to live within our bodies. 
They plan to wring out of us unpaid labor.
Wrench their wealth from our bodies.
Like the earth they intend to bore inside the woman host,
open the artery like weasels, use, consume, devour, drill for 
oil, eat the flesh of the earth mother.
Like the earth they will consume all woman flesh and the
commodities of her being.
The harbors of the world will be for the sale of her body.

The sweat shops will multiply stolen wealth of her living skin. 
They slaver at the cheap labor of women around the world.
They will ground us on the metate, like living corn.
We will be gutted and used by the Companies to make wealth.
General Motors, Ma Bell, Anaconda, pickers of cotton and
coffee, hanging our babies on our backs, producers of hand
and brain and womb.
The world eaters sharpen their teeth.
Out of the unpaid labor of women they will triple their wealth.
Women far down under are trashed, pressed into darkness,
humiliated, exploited.
Half the women of Puerto Rico sterilized, the salt savor
of our sweat tiding like an ocean.
Brothels called meat markets in all the ports of the conqueror.

We are the wine cast struck to the ground, spilled.
We are a great granary of seed smashed, burned.
We are a garroted flight of doves.
We are face out of bone. Years of labor bend the bone and back.
Down the root of conquest our bodies receive the insult.
Receive a thousand blows, theft of ovum and child.
Meadows of dead and ruined women. There is no slight death.
After the first death there is no other.
The Body trashed, dies.
There is no abstract death or death at a distance.
Our bodies extend into the body of all.
Every moment is significant in our solidarity.

In solidarity I stood at the gates of Honeywell where the “Mother
Bomb” is timed and triggered. I hid my grandsons from the gun.
I crouched under the terrible planes of Johnson, Nixon and
I felt the boots on your throat as my own.
I saw the guns pointed at us all.
It was the gun used on my sister.

Now in the “White house” another mask of white criminals
turn upon us, on our native people at Wounded Knee, cut food for
our children and promise us a bigger army. Children are shot
down, I hear mothers crying from the black belt.

Women of the earth, bear the weight of the oppressor,
bearing us down into deep to glow upward from the dark,
from the womb, from the abyss of blood, from the injured
scream, from below we glow and rise singing.


I saw the women of the earth rising on horizons of nitrogen.
I saw the women of the earth coming toward each other
with praise and heat
without reservations of space.
All shining and alight in solidarity.
Transforming the wound into bread and children.
In a new abundance, a global summer.
Tall and crying out in song we arise
in mass meadows.
We will run to the living hills with our seed.
We will redeem all hostages.
We will light the bowl of life.
We will light singing
across all seas
The resonance of the song of woman,
lifted green, alive
in the solidarity of the communal love.
Uncovering the illumined fruit
the flying pollen
in the thighs of golden bees
We bring to you our fire
We pledge to you our guerilla
fight against the predators of our country. 
We come with thunder
Lightning on our skin,
Roaring womb singing
Our sisters
Choruses of millions