Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (mouthmark series) - Warsan Shire

The first boy to kiss your mother later raped women

when the war broke out. She remembers hearing this

from your uncle, then going to your bedroom and lying

down on the floor. You were at school.


Your mother was sixteen when he first kissed her.

She held her breath for so long that she blacked out.

On waking she found her dress was wet and sticking

to her stomach, half moons bitten into her thighs.

I might need a minute to gather my thoughts and put into words the feelings I have right now...

Well...This was a phenomenal collection of poetry. I can honestly say that I haven't read anything like this before.

Each poem is a tale. A horrific, very graphic tale. Warsan Shire, the author, is a Kenyan-born Somali poet, who now lives in London. Her words about immigration need no comments:

They ask me how did you get here? Can’t you see it on my body? The Libyan desert red with immigrant bodies, the Gulf of Aden bloated, the city of Rome with no jacket. I hope the journey meant more than miles because all of my children are in the water. I thought the sea was safer than the land. [..] I hear them say go home, I hear them say fucking immigrants, fucking refugees. Are they really this arrogant? Do they not know that stability is like a lover with a sweet mouth upon your body one second; the next you are a tremor lying on the floor covered in rubble and old currency waiting for its return. All I can say is, I was once like you, the apathy, the pity, the ungrateful placement and now my home is the mouth of a shark, now my home is the barrel of a gun. I’ll see you on the other side.

Poetry is a very difficult genre to interpret most of the times. But I don't think you could read any of Warsan's poems and don't be affected by the raw emotion they will draw out of you.

This small collection of powerful poems is highly recommended..