Milk and honey is a combination of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the encounter of brutality, love, abuse, loss, and femininity and is categorized into four chapters which include the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. In this book, Rupi Kaur, a spoken word poet and based in Toronto gives a voice to the constituents of the mind that are often quiet but need consideration. “This is the journey of persevering through poetry; this is the blood sweat tears of 21 years, my heart in your hands, this is the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing,” the speaker says as she opens up to readers.
Each chapter fulfills a distinct purpose, deals with a distinctive pain and heals a different heartache. Milk and honey take readers through a journey of the bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness in everywhere if you are willing to look.
The poetry begins with themes centered on sexual abuse and broken relationships, tough topics to tackle. The book portrays the childhood of a child who was raped and abandoned and the devastation it created. Kaur allows her emotions to flow freely as if the words are pouring out from her heart rather than her mind. She is displaying many opinions that have been pushed aside by society because “rape is too hard to talk about or too controversial” and “stop talking about your period because it is inappropriate” and “you are a woman, so you mean less.”
The hurting is more than a physical ache because it penetrates deep into the heart of the victim and breaks their purity. What lingers is a sound that cries out for help, but no one seems to respond. It is the rawest part of the book. Its heavy content might throw some readers off as it deals with traumas like rape and the pain caused by an absent father. It is also centered on themes of abuse by family members and other men that Kaur has encountered in her life or stories she heard. The poems and prose in this segment are the most painful to read since Kaur does not sugarcoat these ordeals.
The loving change the tone because the poems become intimate and emotional. Kaur features sexual and sentimental pleasures shaped by love and the ability it has to render the soul utterly useless. Notwithstanding the shift in topic matter, Kaur controls her voice and keeps the rhythm of her poems short and straightforward.
The tone is much more sentimental and follows the progression of a relationship. Each of these poems is written with a lover in mind and a few of them like “I have seen you in my mother’s eyes when she tells me to marry the kind of man I would want to raise my son to be like. “deriving advice from Kaur’s mother.
The breaking and healing
The breaking and the healing detail the course of heartbreak to joy by conversing with a youthful audience who include a group of beloveds who have been rejected and broken for the initial time. The pain expressed is told with innocence and passion, the only way pain should be said.
The last chapter of the compilation encapsulates the essence of sovereignty and identity. The mouthpiece reassures readers to explore the radiance and beauty inside of them, to quit relying on the world and other individuals for validation.
Kaur writes, “You need to start a relationship with yourself before someone else,” highlighting the power to love ourselves that lies within us. Some may dispute this idea as cliché, but its originality and honesty are seen in the expression of Kaur’s independence, providing a new perspective on an old idea.
Milk and honey is an essential read for all regardless of whether you are a woman or not, and whether you can associate with each message or not. The reminder to acknowledge oneself and to embrace sensation is timeless. Even though these poems are sad, they are also very lifelike and applicable.
Trying to summarize the human experience is pointless because different people deal with pain and pleasure in different ways. Although other poets have displayed similar sentiments in poetry, Kaur comes about as close as a poet can get to recognizing and accepting the importance behind emotion, as well as why every individual needs more love, unlike other poets.
Such poems empower women to love themselves and to value who they are regardless of the turmoil they have experienced. This poem would be advised to anyone going through a breakup or just yearning for some comfort. Every woman needs to read this book because even if they cannot relate to it, it does relate to another woman or sister, and that is reason enough.