salt7I recently stumbled upon salt.  Not the kind you flavour your food with, but “salt”, in terms of poetry.

The artist who writes these beautifully raw and soul-stirring poems is known as Nayyirah Waheed.

If you haven’t already, I strongly urge you to look her up and her writings. They are indeed one of a kind and truly beautiful.  She writes from such an honest place and is unapologetic about what she says and I admire that greatly.  When I first read her work, something in me slowed down, in fact my world slowed down; and if it is possible for the heart’s beat to pause between beats, then mine certainly did.

I think when a piece of writing stays with you; sort of attaches itself on your psyche, your soul or your heart as such; you know it’s a good piece of work!

You can’t seem to shake it off for you were not meant to. And Nayyirah’s poems do just this.

When you look at her book you’ll notice the empty spaces and the sparse sentences.  Most of her poems are short but I think that this is intentional.  The empty spaces, like the spaces in our own lives, are there for a reason.  It is there to help us pause, to reflect.  It allows the reader the time to process what has just transpired and what continues to transpire within.  The words need this space.  And you the reader will need it too once you’ve read it.

Here are a few snippets of what Nayyirah beautifully offers.  I’ve selected the ones that closely relate to love, both of self and of the other.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.






salt. is a journey through warmth and sharpness. this collection of poetry explores the realities of multiple identities, language, diasporic life & pain, the self, community, healing, celebration, and love.

a new beginning, 2015

January 1

I Choose to Begin

I love all beginnings, despite their anxiousness and their uncertainty, which belong to every commencement.  If I have earned a pleasure or a reward, or if I wish that something had not happened; if I doubt the worth of an experience and remain in my past – then I choose to begin at this very second.

Begin what? I begin.  I have already thus begun a thousand lives.

Early Journals, A Year with Rilke
Daily readings from this book

Rilke has always been a favourite of mine ever since I read his book, Letters to a Young Poet, many years ago.  It’s funny how some things change over time and some just remain the same.  I got a Kindle recently and Rilke’s book, A Year with Rilke, was the main inspiration for my purchase.  I wanted something I could look at daily, a few words that could perhaps accompany me throughout the day and offer me some food for thought.

Like many book lovers I resisted going all electronic so a Kindle was out of the question for a long time because of all the aesthetic pleasures that books afford — the sweet scent of a new book; the feel of the crisp pages between my fingers; the impressive colours of a book cover and its pride of place on the book shelf.  But then something happened……

I bought a smaller bag! And books were beginning to not be as convenient to lug round on the tube and back.  I guess for the last couple of years this really did not matter as I wasn’t in the frame of mind to read.  I couldn’t concentrate on a magazine let alone a novel.  But Murakami rekindled my old love, my former joy for books.  Colorless Tsukuru was an easy read and an enjoyable one.  It reminded me of what I had been missing — the sheer joy of positive escapism!   And I knew I had to continue reading.  And now with my new shiny Kindle, reading is so much easier and more accessible.  I can even read in bed, snug under the duvet, with all the lights off!

My writing workshop facilitator would be very pleased as I’m now taking her advice and “reading, reading and reading“. There was also something else I learned from that workshop.  Someone in the group mentioned as we were reading through some poems, that an author sometimes “shows but not tells”. And that stayed with me for some reason. How often we do it too in our lives, to ourselves, to each other, I wonder?  We say things, in blogs, in letters, in conversations but there is so much that goes unsaid and the things we do not say (and maybe subtly show instead) are equally important as what is said.  Maybe they are even more important as they may imply and suggest the secrets and messages within us that we rather keep in the dark? What have you not said and why?

Then again not every dark place needs the light and therefore not every single thing needs to be said, or revealed. Some things are best left residing in the darkness, where they safely belong. Just with you. And only you.

Be kind to yourselves.

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