Rupi Kaur is a Canadian poet and author who released her first poetry work as a 21 year old university student. Her first poetry book collection she released is called Milk and Honey (2014), that can be broken down into four sections. These sections deal with where individuals endure pain from. Including family, lovers, society, and yourself.
All of the poems in this novel hold great meaning, but this one in particular stands out:
when my mother opens her mouth
to have a conversation at dinner
my father shoves the word hush
between her lips and tells her to
never speak with her mouth full
this is how the women in my family
learned to live with their mouths closed
This septet can be found on page twenty-seven of Kaur’s book and deals with pain and trauma brought on from family. This poem acts almost as a memory Kaur is recalling from her childhood. Rupi witnessed her mother being belittled by her father several times which in turn taught her to be quiet. This poem not only speaks on how family can give you trauma, but also shows how families shape our lives. From seeing her father shush her mother, Kaur learnt that women should quiet down and not be outspoken. This poem shows how toxic masculinity can come from your home environment and can lead to trauma later in life.
To read more about Milk and Honey.
Feature Image: Kristina Flour, On Unsplash. Creative Commons