Poem of the Week, by Warsan Shire

Yesterday a friend posted a plea to the dear people of earth, to stop, stop stop stop, please let’s just have one week that’s horror-free. Yes please. This tiny brain of mine wasn’t built to withstand the kind of information that comes at it day in and day out, every minute of every hour. Hell, my brain wouldn’t be able to handle constant good news, let alone the kind of news that these past few weeks have been all about. Sometimes you just keep waking up, all night long, thinking what can I do, what can I do, how can I make it better, how can I make it better, while images from the day’s onslaught scroll through your mind like videos. Breathe in, breathe out, focus on the breath, do what you can, do what you can, do what you can. Sometimes all you can do, before you haul yourself up and get back to trying, is seek out a poem that expresses exactly the way you feel in this moment. Like this poem below.

 

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what they did yesterday afternoon
     – Warsan Shire

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who used to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?
i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?
it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

 

For more information on Somali-born Warsan Shire (whose poetry Beyonce set to music and movement in “Lemonade”), please click here.

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