"Milk and Honey" is a breathtaking collection of poems by Rupi Kaur. Through her simplistic writing style and her powerful yet understated illustrations, Rupi Kaur engages her audience and provides an experience that every young woman should experience. Although each of the poems contained within this astounding book is wonderfully crafted, 12 of them stood out to me and contained lessons that I believe every young woman should know.
1. "sex takes the consent of two
if one person is lying there not doing anything
cause they are not ready
or not in the mood
or simply don't want to
yet the other is having sex
with their body it's not love
it is rape"
Less of a poem and more of a statement, Rupi Kaur's words resonate in me as I think back to the all-too-common headline of rape on college campuses. Rape comes in many forms, and Kaur points that out in a forceful way.
2. "you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with the lightness on my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and not easy
for the mind to follow"
This poem may be one of my favorites in this book. It gives young women the confidence to speak their mind and realize the importance of their spoken word.
3. "when my mother was pregnant
with her second child i was four
i pointed at her swollen belly confused at how
my mother had gotten so big in such little time
my father scooped me in his tree trunk arms and
said the closest thing to god on this earth
is a woman's body it's where life comes from
and to have grown man tell me something
so powerful at such a young age
changed me to see the entire universe
rested at my mother's feet"
Rupi Kaur's ability to capture the amazement of the female body in such a short poem is truly inspiring and.
4. "love will come
and when love comes
love will hold you
love will call your name
and you will melt
love will hurt you but
love will never mean to
love will play no games
cause love knows life
has been hard enough already"
Love shouldn't have to be hard, and more common than not, young women in college find it to be. I believe every young woman should keep this in mind as she journeys through one of the most complicated and trivial times of her life.
5. "don't mistake
salt for sugar
if he wants to
be with you
it's that simple"
Similar to the poem listed above, Rupi Kaur makes it clear that love will not be complicated nor will it sting. If a man wants to be with a woman, he will be. "it's that simple"
he can't help but
degrade other women
when they're not looking
if toxicity is central
to his language
he could hold you
in his lap and be soft
that man could feed you sugar and
douse you in rose water
but that still could not
make him sweet
-if you want to know the type of man he is "
There's more to judging a man's heart than the way he treats you. It is also important to look at the way he treats other people.
7. "when you are broken
and he has left you
do not question
whether you were
the problem was
you were so enough
he was not able to carry it"
I wish this book would have been published a few years ago when I was going through a terrible break-up. This poem has the ability to give immense strength to audiences when they may be questioning themselves after the end of a relationship.
8. "i will tell you about selfish people. even when they know they will hurt you they walk into your life to taste you because you are the type of being they don't want to miss out on. you are too much shine to not be felt. so when they have gotten a good look at everything you have to offer. when they have taken your skin your hair your secrets with them. when they realize how real this is. how much of a storm you are and it hits them.
this is when the cowardice sets in. this is when the person you thought they were is replaced by the sad reality of what they are. that is when they lose every fighting bone in their body and leave after saying you will find better than me.
you will stand there naked with half of them still hidden somewhere inside you and sob. asking them why they did it. why they forced you to love them when they had no intention of loving you back and they'll say something along the lines of i just had to try. i had to give it a chance. it was you after all.
but that isn't romantic. it isn't sweet. the idea that they were so engulfed by your existence they had to risk breaking it for the sake of knowing they weren't the one missing out. your existence meant that little next to their curiosity of you."
At this part of the book, Rupi Kaur gives a warning to her audience as to how it will feel when a relationship comes to an end. She powerfully captures the sting of such an important time in a person's life.
9. "to do list (after the breakup):
1. take refuge in your bed.
2. cry. till the tears stop (this will take a few days).
3. don't listen to slow songs.
4. delete their number from your phone even though it is memorized on your fingertips.
5. don't look at old photos
6. find the closest ice cream shop and treat yourself to two scoops of mint chocolate chip. the mint will calm your heart. you deserve the chocolate.
7. buy new bed sheets.
8. collect all the gifts, t-shirts, and everything with their smell on it and drop it off at a donation center.
9. plan a trip.
10. perfect the art of smiling and nodding when someone brings their name up in conversation.
11. start a new project.
12. whatever you do. do not call.
13. do not beg for what does not want to stay.
14. stop crying at some point.
15. allow yourself to feel foolish for believing you could've built the rest of your life in someone else's stomach.
I love the way Rupi Kaur has structured this poem. It is a step-by-step guide for her audience and an obvious reflection on her own experiences. 15 is one that I didn't expect to see, but it resonated within me as I thought back to post-breakup thoughts.
10. "the next time he
points out the
hair on your legs is
growing back remind
that boy your body
is not his home
he is a guest
warn him to
The power of a woman is captured so vividly in this poem. It is so important to think of our bodies as a home and everyone around us is just a visitor; blessed to be able to visit.