Poetry 2018 Longlist, Zainab Aliyah Murfuah


On the day that you were born,

You must’ve taken the earth by storm.

It wondered, wide eyed, How?

Would it deal with this one now.

She challenged more than others,

She ruffled it’s million feathers.

Too headstrong to contain,

It’d tie her but in what chain?

Would it throw in a few tough climbs?

Or fear her then with impending times?

She would only laugh the climb uphill,

A deep breathe down and she’d walk on still.

Some heartaches maybe to falter her stride?

Some words then that would hurt her pride?

But she would lay down low, but only some.

And rise from those falls to face what’s come.

Then would it take from her, her treasured gifts?

Breaking down some trust, would it leave her in bits?

It closed it’s eyes and shook his head.

Took in a breath and to itself said,

“Let her be, this strange bird with wings,

Let her soar up high and see them things.

She’d make for herself, her own birdsong

Glide through skies, and choose to belong.

She’d be a legendary tale, not captured on a page,

She’d be a a bird with wings, but in love with her cage.


-Zainab Aliyah

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