41+ Warsan Shire Quotes That All Young Writers Should Read

Georgia Stone
Dec 12, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Feb 03, 2021
Shire's poetry has been published in several publications.

Warsan Shire belongs to the new age of poets who have a massive fan following all over the internet.

The 32-year-old, of Somali-British origi,  has become somewhat of a sensation and was the Young Poet Laureate for London in 2014, which is just one of the several titles and awards that she has received. She is one of those rare poets who can efficaciously write both moving poetry about serious topics, and humorous social media posts too.

A by-product of diaspora and multiculturalism, Shire was born in Kenya to parents who were from Somalia and was then raised in London. As most immigrant children who grow up in countries where they may have faced discrimination for being different, her life had challenges aplenty.

These challenges and the kind of life she thus led are reflected in her poetry.

We have compiled for you a list of some Warsan Shire quotes that will surely feed your poetic cravings. If you like these quotes from Warsan Shire, you should also check out our Rupi Kaur quotes and [Maya Angelou love quotes] for more poetry quotes to share with the whole world.

The Best Warsan Shire Poetry Quotes About Love And Being Lonely

Shire's poetry about love and heartbreak will feed your soul in times of loneliness.

Warsan Shire is the author of the collections, 'Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth' (2011), 'Our Men Do Not Belong To Us' (2014), 'Her Blue Body' (2015), and 'Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head' (2021).

Her poems have also been published in several other anthologies, journals, and magazines as well as in Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' (2016) and the movie 'Black Is King' (2020).

She has written at length about love and heartbreak among other things. Do you feel like loneliness will sometimes swallow you whole?

Have you found someone who knows how to love? Here are some Warsan Shire quotes on love and loneliness!

1. "She knows loss intimately, carries whole cities in her belly."

- Warsan Shire, 'Ugly'.

2.  "Dear Uncle, is everything you love foreign

or are you foreign to everything you love?"

- Warsan Shire, 'Midnight In The Foreign Food Aisle'.

3. "She wet a finger to draw where the ocean would be

on his wrist, kissed him there,

named the ocean after herself."

- Warsan Shire, 'Grandfather's Hands'.

4. "You can't make homes out of human beings someone should have already told you that."

- Warsan Shire, 'For Women Who Are Difficult To Love'.

5. "Why do you find the unavailable so alluring?"

- Warsan Shire, 'Questions For The Woman I Was Last Night'.

6. "I let you leave, I need someone who knows how to stay."

- Warsan Shire, 'The Unbearable Weight Of Staying'.

7.  "He says I thought I told you to stop calling me."

- Warsan Shire, 'How  To Wear Your Mother's Lipstick'.

8. "31. Forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you. 32. I'm a lover without a lover. 33. I'm lovely and lonely. 34. I belong deeply to myself."

- Warsan Shire, '34 Excuses For Why We Failed At Love'.

9. "I tore up and ate my own passport in an airport hotel. I’m bloated with language I can’t afford to forget."

- Warsan Shire, 'Conversations About Home (At The Deportation Centre)'.

10. "Two people who were once very close can without blame or grand betrayal become strangers

perhaps this is the saddest thing in the world."

- Warsan Shire.

11. "Did it take you long to find me? you're here now, welcome home."

- Warsan Shire.

12. "When I love, I love: wholly thoroughly, completely, drowning in everything."

- Warsan Shire.

13. "no, he loves me

he just makes me cry a lot"

- Warsan Shire.

14. "We took such care of tomorrow and died on the way there"

- Warsan Shire.

15. "The ego hurts you like this: you become obsessed with the one person who does not love you.

Blind to the rest who do."

- Warsan Shire.

16. "I'm sorry that you were not truly loved and that it made you cruel."

- Warsan Shire.

17. "and if he wants to leave

then let him leave

you are terrifying

and strange and beautiful

something not everyone knows how to love."

- Warsan Shire, 'For Women Who Are Difficult To Love'.

18. "You think it's cruel

how I break your heart, to write a poem.

I think it's alchemy."

- Warsan Shire, 'Chemistry'.

19. “You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated, so that people can say ‘Wow, isn't he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.”

- Warsan Shire.

20. "Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women, kitchen of love, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy. Sometimes, the men come with keys, and sometimes the men, they come with hammers."

- Warsan Shire.

21. "I did not beg him to stay

because I was begging God

that he would not leave."

- Warsan Shire, 'What Your Mother Told You After Your Father Left'.

22. "My alone feels so good, I'll only have you if you're sweeter than my solitude."

- Warsan Shire.

23. "If it'll keep my heart soft, break my heart every day."

- Warsan Shire.

24. "Loving you was like going to war;

I never came back the same."

- Warsan Shire.

25. "His eyes were the same colour as the sea in a postcard someone sends you when they love you, but not enough to stay."

- Warsan Shire.

Quotes by Warsan Shire About Diaspora, Displacement And Finding Empowerment Amidst It All

Warsan Shire's poetry reflects deeply her understanding of displacement, diaspora, multiculturalism and the horrors of wartime. She also writes, however, about finding empowerment amidst the oppression and grief. Here are some such quotes from her writings that distinguish her as a poet!

26.  "I have my mother’s mouth and my father’s eyes; on my face, they are still together."

- Warsan Shire.

27. "To my daughter

I will say,

'when the men come, set yourself on fire'."

- Warsan Shire, 'In Love And In War'.

28. "Every Sunday afternoon he dresses in his old army uniform,

tells you the name of every man he killed.

His knuckles are unmarked graves."

- Warsan Shire, 'Old Spice'.

29. “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.”

- Warsan Shire.

30. "Sometimes it feels like someone else is wearing my body."

- Warsan Shire, 'Conversations About Home (At The Deportation Centre)'.

31. "My mother says no one can fight it-

the body returning to God"

- Warsan Shire, 'Trying To Swim With God'.

32.  "Do you remember being born? Are you thankful for the hips that cracked?"

- Warsan Shire, 'Forgiveness'.

33. "I tried to change. Closed my mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less awake."

- Warsan Shire, 'Denial'.

34. "I can make us loved, just say the word. Give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent, I can write the poem and make it disappear."

- Warsan Shire, 'Backwards'.

35. "I do not know where I am going, where I have come from is disappearing, I am unwelcome and my beauty is not beauty here"

- Warsan Shire, 'Conversations About Home (At The Deportation Centre)'.

36. "you have to understand,

that no one puts their children in a boat

unless the water is safer than the land"

- Warsan Shire, 'Home'.

37. "The only darkness we should allow into our lives is the night, for even then, we have the moon."

- Warsan Shire, 'What We Own'.

38.  "It's not my responsibility to be beautiful. I'm not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me"

- Warsan Shire.

39. "give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right."

- Warsan Shire.

Warsan Shire Quotes Found In 'Lemonade'

Beyonc\u00e9 turned Shire's poetry into music.

In 2016, Beyoncé added to the poet, Shire's, fame greatly when she decided to include lines from her poetry into the lyrics of the songs in her album 'Lemonade'. Queen Bey, as her fans call her, recognised there was something "terrifying and strange and beautiful" about Shire's verse. Here are some Warsan Shire quotes, 'Lemonade' edition!

40. "I don't know when love became elusive. What I know is, no one I know has it."

- Warsan Shire, in Beyoncé's 'Anger'.

41. "Pull the sorrow from between my legs like silk. Knot after knot after knot."

- Warsan Shire, in Beyoncé's 'Redemption'

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Warsan Shire quotes, then why not take a look at these Zora Neale Hurston quotes, or [poetry quotes] too?

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia Stone picture

Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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