Milking Out The Best of ‘Milk and Honey’

By Ruby Cairns

Canadian poet and author, Rupi Kaur has graced us, yet again with the “second coming” (her words) following the release of her firstborn ‘milk and honey’ back in November 2014. 

Similar to her first release, ‘the sun and her flowers’ transports us through some of life’s most memorable stages, “wilting...falling...rooting...rising and blooming”. Apart from the themed chapters of the book, individual experiences that one faces throughout their lifetime such as love, loss, identity, abuse and feminism are made stark reference to.

Yet whilst obvious similarities are noticeable between the two books, it seems too far-fetched to suggest that ‘the sun and her flowers’ is a sequel. For starters, this one feels more deep and almost dark in some areas, as it attempts to delve into some of life’s toughest traumas and explore those emotions. Apart from also being physically bigger, ‘the sun and her flowers’ deals with more than its predecessor ‘milk and honey’, which is more based around the stages of different relationships and learning the lesson of self-love and growth.

Rupi Kaur’s unique talent for stringing beautiful words together is simply breathtaking. Her writing appeals to an unbiased audience and is heartfelt and relatable. She is not afraid to speak about issues which are often hushed or avoided. She doesn’t attempt to hide the rawness and grinding truth of subjects such as immigration, rape, mental illness and abuse in all its forms. 

The ending to ‘milk and honey’ attempts to demonstrate the good in every situation and the truth which is learned from all bad decisions. The final chapter ‘healing’ revolves around issues such feminism, independence, growth, and maturity. Similarly to ‘milk and honey’ the ending of ‘the sun and her flowers’ has a reassuring essence about it. Suggesting that there is always enough sunlight and warmth for us flowers to rise, grow and bloom again. 

Whether a poetry lover or not, both books are a vital read for all. Kaur sends us flying into countless scenarios which force you to feel something powerful and extremely real. Rupi Kaur is inspiring, persistent, and a truly iconic woman of the world. And we should all be counting our lucky stars that her talent was put to such good use.

A few of my favourite excerpts from ‘milk and honey’

 

chapter 1. the hurting 

trying to convince myself

i am allowed

to take up space

is like writing with

my left hand

when i was born

to use my right

- the idea of shrinking is hereditary

 

chapter 2. the loving

he placed his hands

on my mind

before reaching 

for my waist

my hips

or my lips

he didn’t call me

beautiful first

he called me 

exquisite

- how he touches me

 

chapter 3. the breaking

if

he can’t help but

degrade other women

when they’re not looking

if toxicity is central

to his language 

he could hold you

in his lap and be soft

honey

that man could feed you sugar and 

douse you in rose water

but that still could not

make him sweet

- if you want to know the type of man he is

 

chapter 4. the healing

the next time he

points out the

hair on your legs is

growing back remind

that boy your home

is not his home

he is a guest

warn him to

never outstep 

his welcome

again

 

A few of my favourite excerpts from ‘the sun and her flowers’

 

chapter 1. wilting

you ask

if we can still be friends

i explain how a honeybee

does not dream of kissing 

the mouth of a flower

then settle for its leaves

i don’t need more friends

 

chapter 2. falling

why are you so unkind to me

my body cries

cause you don’t look like them

i tell her

 

chapter 3. rooting

borders are man made

they only divide us physically 

don’t let them make us 

turn on each other

- we are not enemies

 

chapter 4. rising

why am i always running in circles

between wanting you to want me

and when you want me

deciding it is too emotionally naked

for me to live with

why do i make loving me so difficult

as if you should never have to witness

the ghosts i have tucked under my breast

i used to be more open

when it came to matters like this my love

- if we’d only met when i was that willing

 

chapter 5. blooming

i stand 

on the sacrifices

of a million women before me

thinking

what can i do

to make this mountain taller

so the women after me

can see farther 

- legacy

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