no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
and even then you carried the anthem under
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
— Excerpt of “Home” by Warsan Shire —
After writing a flash fiction story earlier this week inspired by Warsan Shire’s poem, Home, it seemed only fitting to share the poem itself for this week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Instead of sharing the entire poem (which is pretty long), I’m sharing an excerpt of my favorite stanzas.
With the never-ending immigration debates in our politics, the refugee crises, and the countless individual lives that continue to hang in the balance, this poem has never been more relevant. Home gives a voice to refugees and in extension, to immigrants who are looking for a better life in a new country, and Warsan presents this voice in a real, authentic, un-sugarcoated way. When you strip away all the exaggerated reports and the biased politics, the real experiences depicted in Home is what remains.
To read the entire poem, click here.