How Simplistic Poetry Can Be Just As Powerful: Self-Love

"if someone

does not want me

it is not the end of the world


if i do not want me

the world is nothing but


-Nayyirah Waheed

This poem is from the author's book, "Salt".

I really like this poem for its simplicity. It conveys the powerful theme of self-love by using everyday vocabulary. This allows the poem to be understood by a wide variety of ages which makes the poem much easier to grasp. Self-love is really one of the most powerful forms of love, and although it has taken me a lot of time to understand that, it was definitely worth the time it took.

The word "but" is also beautifully placed because it was used on its own in a single line. The placement of the word draws a parallel between both ends of self-love. One end is pleasing others and the other is pleasing oneself. I think a lot of us can relate to the aspect of pleasing others. We are constantly in a fight with ourselves to do what's best for us or what's best for them. I think people often pull away from self-love because it is seen as selfish. However, being selfish is not always a bad thing. Society has taught us that being selfish is and always will be something negative but life is all about doing what makes you happy. I believe that unless you are harming someone else, you should always choose yourself.

I also really like that it doesn't have a title, it allows for the simplicity of the poem to remain without giving too much away with a title. The author obviously doesn't want only one interpretation of this poem. They simply want the audience to take it as it is. Usually, when titles are given to poetry, people grasp onto that aspect and treat it as the central theme of a poem. That often works, but the author made a great decision in not naming this poem and allowing it to speak for itself.

Also, the way that the poem ends is fascinating because it started off talking about the end of the world so you would expect for the finishing lines to be something along the lines of "if I do not want me, it is." However, the poem sneaks in one final aspect of self-love. It focuses on the point that if you do not love yourself, the world will be filled with nothing but endings, which is honestly more terrifying than the end of the world. It explains that it will not be the end of the world because the world does not revolve around you but your own world that you have created should revolve around yourself, and that is beautiful.

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