8 Feminist Poems to Empower the Independent Soul Inside You

March 6, 2020

8 Feminist Poems to Empower the Independent Soul Inside You

By Mahnoor Jalal

1. Hum Gunah Gar Aurtein 

by Kishwar Naheed

yeh hum gunahgar aurtain hain

jo ahl-e-jubba ki tamkanat se na roab khaen

na jaan bechen

na sar jhukaen

na haath joden

yeh hum gunahgar aurtain hai

ki jin ke jismon ki fasl bechen jo log

vo sarfaraz thahren

niyabat-e-imtiya thahren

vo davar-e-ahl-e-saaz thahren

yeh hum gunahgar aurtain hai

2. When We Declare Ourselves Witches
by Siling Zhang

When we declare ourselves witches

We usurp the head of the church

We stand before God with our backs turned

And appropriate his halo.

3. Her Kind 
by Anne Sexton

I have gone out, a possessed witch,

haunting the black air, braver at night;

dreaming evil, I have done my hitch

over the plain houses, light by light:

lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.

A woman like that is not a woman, quite.

I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,

filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,

closets, silks, innumerable goods;

fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:

whining, rearranging the disaligned.

A woman like that is misunderstood.

I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,

waved my nude arms at villages going by,

learning the last bright routes, survivor

where your flames still bite my thigh

and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.

A woman like that is not ashamed to die.

I have been her kind.

4. Lady Lazarus 

by Sylvia Plath

Ash, ash—

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——

A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer



Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.

5. Shedding Skin
by Harryette Muellen

Pulling out of the old scarred skin

(old rough thing I don’t need now

I strip off

slip out of

leave behind)

I slough off deadscales

flick skinflakes to the ground

6. For Women Who Are Difficult To Love
by Warsan Shire

and you tried to change didn’t you?

closed your mouth more

tried to be softer


less volatile, less awake

but even when sleeping you could feel

him travelling away from you in his dreams

so what did you want to do love

split his head open?

you can’t make homes out of human beings

someone should have already told you that

7.A Woman Speaks
by Audre Lorde

Moon marked and touched by sun

my magic is unwritten

but when the sea turns back

it will leave my shape behind.

I seek no favor

untouched by blood

unrelenting as the curse of love

permanent as my errors

or my pride

I do not mix

love with pity

nor hate with scorn

and if you would know me

look into the entrails of Uranus

where the restless oceans pound.

8. Aks-e-khushbuu huun bikharne se na roke koi
by parveen-shakir

عکس خوشبو ہوں بکھرنے سے نہ روکے کوئی

اور بکھر جاؤں تو مجھ کو نہ سمیٹے کوئی

کانپ اٹھتی ہوں میں یہ سوچ کے تنہائی میں

میرے چہرے پہ ترا نام نہ پڑھ لے کوئی

جس طرح خواب مرے ہو گئے ریزہ ریزہ

اس طرح سے نہ کبھی ٹوٹ کے بکھرے کوئی