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.

Home — Full Score

All parts:



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.

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