and her flowers
this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
in order to bloom
milk and honey, rupi kaur’s debut collection of poetry and prose, is a #1 new york times bestseller. it was first self-published in november 2014. the self-published edition quickly topped north american charts. its grassroots success lead to andrews mcmeel publishing releasing it under their name on october 6 2015. the book has since been a runaway success finding a home in the hearts and homes of readers across the world. milk and honey has sold over 1.5 million copes. remained on the new york times bestsellers list for over a year and has been translated into over 30 languages.
‘milk and honey’ is the experience of violence. abuse. love. loss. femininity. the book is divided into four chapters. each chapter serves a different purpose. deals with a different pain. heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
I’m super busy these days as I literally just started Grad School last week and working two jobs. It’s a busy time but a great time.
I have been meaning to pick up Rupi Kaur’s poetry for awhile. But I’ve been avoiding it. Far be it for me to dive into it’s content now when I’m too busy to ‘go there’. After seeing the above clip, I realized – it’s time.
Being a South Asian woman, I’ve not only grown up with some deeply emotional pangs around self worth, self esteem and where I see myself in this world. Then let’s throw in growing up in Toronto in the 80’s and 90’s and feeling the ripples of racism, isolation and worry. I’ve been through a lot and to say that I’m a fighter would be an understatement.
I’m a warrior. But I’ve had to earn my keep and lose many battles on my journey.
I felt a wonderful symmetry with ‘the sun and her flowers’ and ‘milk and honey’ with my own life. I lingered on poems like ‘the type of lover I need’, ‘commitment’ and ‘the middle place’. Poems that are brimming with emotion related to relationships, loss, grief, love, forgiveness have come to me like a wave. A wave I wasn’t sure that I was ready to be washed ashore with.
It was comforting to know that Rupi also had a similar journey as a South Asian woman and has been on the ground many a night wondering if it was going to swallow her in one gulp.
I cried many a time during the course of reading both of Kaur’s works. You can’t help it. Her words are carefully constructed, sparse, worth dwelling upon and delicious. I read both works over the course of a long weekend. Too much? Oh yes, but I needed the permission to face my ‘stuff’ as I head into a period of new growth in my life that is academically based but also emotive. Indeed transformational but not life changing. I still have work to do. I appreciated the gentle nudge, and hey everyone needs a nudge or two when they are immersed inside so much change.
Feeling so thankful for my life, thankful for where I am and what it took me to get here. When you dwell on ‘the sun and her flowers’ and ‘milk and honey’ – tell me what her poems open up for you.