I happened to be sick when I finally got a chance to read this collection, thinking along the lines of reading short pieces of poetry would be easier than trying to accomplish reading a whole novel in between 4 hour naps. I adored my first taste of Kaur’s poetry with Milk and Honey, so I truly looked forward to her second collection.

The poems within the collection are broken into five sections: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming.

In wilting, Kaur goes into detail about the feelings of loss and grief. My interpretation is of a breakup, but these poems could easily identify emotions of grief over a death, or the loss of a close relationship. There were two poems that really resonated with me in this section that I flagged, but there could have easily been more. Opening her collection with poetry that creates such a heavy, emotional response pulls the reader into the overall tale of Kaur’s collection. 

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My interpretation of falling is Kaur’s introspective dialogue on her own emotions, her mental health, her personal thoughts. Again, there were many pieces within that spoke to me, that I found myself nodding at like I was being spoken to. For example, this, titled responsibility:

“a lot of times
we are angry at other people
for not doing what
we should have done for ourselves.”

Rooting is the shortest section, but it’s an homage to the current state of the world- of the oppression of minorities, of the urgency for equality, and a reflection/observation of injustice. It also pays tribute to Kaur’s parents and her culture. For me, I found this section the hardest to digest because there are parts of this I will only ever be able to empathize for, due to the privileges of my race and social class. But, I found such love in the writing, especially in the sections of prose about Kaur’s mother, and the sacrifices she made so that Kaur would have “a better life”.

My favorite section, rising, is about love and kindness, of facing what lies ahead and trusting in yourself. This section got me all choked up and mushy, mostly because I had just been through the first three sections with heavy emotions, and then this section gave me hope. Despite all the rough things you go through, hope will carry you through it. At least, I feel that is what Kaur is saying.

Blooming is about loving yourself, of knowing your worth, and it definitely puts a period at the end of the statement made by the entire collection. It’s also the section that made me cry. I am an emotional person, but I usually keep a pretty good hold on anything that emits sadness. Yet, Kaur writes something like this…

“it isn’t blood that make you my sister
it’s how you understand my heart
as though you carry it
in your body”

…and boom, water works. I am fortunate enough to have sisters (& friends & family) like this, and it’s one of the things I am most thankful for, and certainly my soft spot.

Overall, this collection is just as beautiful as Kaur’s first, easily bringing emotions to the surface for me. I marked so many pages to that I will have to go back and reread, and am glad to have purchased the copy for my personal library. I also still love the addition of sketch artwork alongside the poetry, and find it complimentary and individually beautiful. I definitely recommend that anyone should read this, in the hopes that you’ll find comfort among the pages, no matter what you’re going through.

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