Project Description

Hamdi Khalif


Hamdi Khalif is a poet originally from Somalia. While new on the poetry scene, she recently joined the Bards Without Borders collective, London poets from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are creating a response to Shakespeare to mark the 400th anniversary of his death. Hamdi’s poems are a fusion of both English and Somali, not only in terms of language but also in ideas and identity, covering a range of themes from loss to womanhood.

When your city was on fire
and bullets blew with the breeze
When your soul was tired
and bombs made it hard to breathe

like Nabi Ibraahiim the flames did not burn you
And the bullets did not break you
For you are the rose that grew from concrete

Tell me
How are your hands petal soft?
When mine are weathered and wear the war

Tell me
How do you stand stem straight?
When my back is bent
And in my spine there’s a dent
Because I
I left my pride on the floor

When I knocked on a stranger’s door
begging for peace
and a piece of bread
between my teeth

Tell me
How do you smell of flowers?
When I reek of rot
I did not need to get shot
For my arteries to clot
And my heart to stop

Because I’m dead inside.

I’m like the leaves of a tree
blowing in the breeze

I have no roots
I bear no fruits
and there’s little left of me.

But you
you’re the rose that grew from concrete
Sing to me
Remind me
of the songs of our mother

Soothe me
Silence my cries
Love me
Lather me with lullabies

Huwaa huwaa
Hurdoo hurdoo kaale
Hurdoo macanay kaale
Hurdadii ku heeso
Ane wee i heesa
huwaa huwaa