Literary Birthday – 1 August – Warsan Shire

Happy Birthday, Warsan Shire, born 1 August 1988.


  1. I have my mother’s mouth and my father’s eyes; on my face they are still together.
  2. Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.
  3. At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.
  4. My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.
  5. His eyes were the same colour as the sea in a postcard someone sends you when they love you, but not enough to stay.
  6. You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.
  7. Don’t assume, ask. Be kind. Tell the truth. Don’t say anything you can’t stand behind fully. Have integrity. Tell people how you feel.
  8. You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, someone not everyone knows how to love.
  9. Later that night, I held an atlas on my lap, ran my fingers across the whole world, and whispered, ‘where does it hurt?’ It answered, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.
  10. Perhaps, the problem is not the intensity of your love, but the quality of the people you are loving.
  11. Loving you was like going to war; I never came back the same.
  12. But sometimes your light attracts moths and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect your space and energy.

Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer. In 2014 she was appointed the first Young Poet Laureate for London. She is the author of Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth.

Image of book dust jacket:

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Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 1st August 2015

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