“Home”, a poem about immigration written by an immigrant
We publish below the harrowing poem “Home” by Warsan Shire, a young British woman of Somali origin.
No one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.
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
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
go home blacks
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
or the insults are easier
than your child body
I want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
your survival is more important
No one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
I don’t know what I’ve become
but I know that anywhere
is safer than here.
CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES
St Francis of Assisi (c. 1226)
Most High, All-powerful, All-Good, Lord!
All praise is Yours,
all glory, all honor
And all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy
To pronounce your name.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through all that You have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens You have made them, bright
And precious and fair.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all the weather's moods,
By which You cherish all that You have made.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly,
precious, and pure.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom You brighten up the night.
How beautiful he is, how gay!
Full of power and strength.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces
Various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.
All praise be Yours, my Lord,
through those who grant pardon
For love of You;
through those who endure
Sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
By You, Most High,
they will be crowned.
All praise be Yours, my Lord,
through Sister Death-of-the-Body,
From whose embrace
no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die
in mortal sin,
Happy those She finds
doing Your holy will!
The second death can do
no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.
The endangered species pictured are: blue-throated macaw, polar bear, brown spider monkey, and humpback whale.