No-one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land. (x2)
No-one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.
You only run for the border when you see the whole city running too.
You can listen to Warsan Shire reading the whole poem here.
Warsan Shire was born in Kenya to Somali parents and lives in London. She is a poet, writer, editor and teacher. In 2013–2014, she was the Young Poet Laureate for London. Shire wrote “Conversations about home (at a deportation centre)” in 2009, a piece inspired by a visit she made to the abandoned Somali Embassy in Rome which some young refugees had turned into their home. In an interview, she told the reporter that “The night before she visited, a young Somali had jumped to his death off the roof.” The encounter, she says, opened her eyes to the harsh reality of living as an undocumented refugee in Europe: “I wrote the poem for them, for my family and for anyone who has experienced or lived around grief and trauma in that way.”
This poem became the basis for “Home,” which has been shared widely across the media and has been read in a range of public spaces, including London’s Trafalgar Square. Commentators have noted that “Home” has touched a nerve among people, that it has offered a way to give voice to refugees and to provide some authentic understanding of the crisis.