FOR WOMEN WHO ARE ‘DIFFICULT’ TO LOVE
you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do, love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.
About the Poem: This poem expresses what women feel when men find it ‘difficult to love them as a result of their individuality and independence. These women are so set in their ways, a lot of the time, profoundly talented and successful, other times just very grounded. I feel that some men do not take the time to study their women and just want whatever it is they want, when women want to be unveiled like a rose, petal after petal. Women are accused of being too intense, sometimes unrealistic and possessing unreachable high standards when all they want is a man who would go the extra mile for them. This poem captures all of those feelings and puts them into this very wonderful expression with words.
About the Writer: Warsan Shire (born 1988) is a Somali–British writer, poet, editor and teacher currently residing in London. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and released Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth, a poetry pamphlet published by flipped eye in 2011. Her full collection is to be released in 2016.
Shire has read her poetry in various artistic venues throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, North America, South Africa and Kenya. Her poems have been republished in various literary publications, such as the Poetry Review, Magma and Wasafiri. Also, Shire’s verse has been featured in the Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt, 2011) and Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe, 2014) collections. They have also been translated into a number of languages, including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish and Estonian.
Her first full poetry collection is to be released in 2016. She serves as the poetry editor at SPOOK magazine and also teaches poetry workshops both globally and online for cathartic and aesthetic purposes.
A remarkable example of an African poet, Shire is on Instagram at @wu_shire and on twitter at @warsan_shire.