nejma by Nayyirah Waheed

If you have read this post, you know I am a huge fan of Nayyirah Waheed's book of poems entitled salt. Subtle, powerful and wise, each of those poems is a gift to unwrap again and again. And, while written by her, she makes it clear that they are a gift from you to you, because it is your interpretation and your experience that crafts their force in your life. She's pretty clever that way.

Thus, I was really excited to read her earlier book of poetry, nejma. I don't know that much about poetry, but my experience of nejma was less moving, though it had some of the same moments as salt. What it did for me was show me her growth between publications. A starting point, it indicated how she refined and honed her craft to later create all the wonder that is salt. And to see such maturity in the power of her second book of poems is pretty miraculous. I have a lot of love for this woman's words, and for everything they have stirred in me since first reading them.

Favorite poems from this one here:

 

when words take off their clothes. for me.

so i can write. them

exactly. as they are.

-- skin

 

'as you are.' says the universe.

'after...' you answer.

'as you are.' says the universe.

'before...' you answer.

'as you are.' says the universe.

'when...' you answer.

'as you are.' says the universe.

'how...' you answer.

'as you are.' says the universe.

'why...' you answer.

'because

you are happening now.

right now.

right at this moment

and

your happening

is beautiful.

the thing that both keeps me alive

and

brings me to my knees.

you don't even know how breathtaking you

are.

as you are.' says the universe through tears.

-- as you are | you are the prayer