9    Working for Moloch

(after reading Adrienne Rich)

Note: Moloch was a deity worshipped by the people of Jordan in Old Testament times (see
Leviticus 20: 2-5). The chief feature of
such worship was the sacrifice of
children to
secure power and riches.

The cleaners are scrubbing the Institute lavatories

because women are supposed to do that

the girls are typing in the Institute offices because women are dedicated and careful

the women are assembling printed circuits because women are good at delicate work and women's eyes are expendable

the young men are doing their PhD's because young men are obedient and ambitious

and someone wants warheads

laser rangefinders

hunt and destroy capabilities

multichannel night seeking radar

and science is neutral

back home the wives of the PhD students are having babies

because women are maternal and loving

and who else can have children but women?

at the top of the tower the old men and the middle aged men

and sometimes one woman professor

meet to form plans, cadge funds and run the place


because obedient young men turn into obedient old men

and it's all for the good of the country

and defence funds are good for science

and science is neutral

and no one notices Moloch

the women bring them

clean toilets

cups of coffee


micro circuits oh so neatly assembled

and children

and it's hard to see Moloch because he is both far away




and no one asks to whom they are all obedient

and they say, "Who's Moloch? Never heard of him"

as out in the dark Moloch belches

and grows redder and redder

and fatter and fatter

as he eats the children

by Mary McCann, published in Pomegranate, Women's Writing Group, Scotland, 1992, pp. 64-65.