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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

forget 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 WriterWarsan 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.

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