Warrior Daughter: An Exclusive Poem by Nikita Gill for International Women's Day
We present an exclusive new poem, written specially for International Women's Day 2018, by the poet Nikita Gill, author of the groundbreaking anthology Wild Embers.
One day, the moon, the sea, the sun, the wind
met, spun together gently - and you were made.
Nestled in the womb of the universe, precisely planned
your soulbones were crafted and the substance of you laid.
If you feel heavy, it is because you are bearing the sea.
You have the moon inside your blood, your soul,
the sun’s own rays beating through those arteries.
This is what the world does not want you to know-
you are already a warrior daughter of a celestial star.
So it tries to trample the embers of you before they grow,
wanting you to fear your fire rather than loving who you are.
Now instead, listen to the beating drums, the battle cries,
and accept your place as the hurricane child of the darkest skies;
spread those wings, grip your liberty and let the Valkyrie in you rise.
Poetry has always lived. Long before us, the wind used to whisper through the trees, and that too, was poetry. The moon smoothed and hastened the ocean’s waves, and that too, was poetry.
It is the most ancient thing the world has ever known and yet, every few years it is declared that poetry is dying. Yet nothing this ever changing and enduring could ever truly die. Instead it simply resurrects, changes form and returns to us.
This incarnation of poetry is fierce and fiery. It takes on the political issues with the world. It slams fists through walls of oppression. It rebuilds human kindness and reminds us of essential softness. It gives a mouth piece to the silenced. It may sound weightless in words and effortless to write but it is mystical enough to carry strength to the people who need it, and this, this is no small thing.
This is what I bore in mind when writing this poem for International Women’s Day. Keeping alive the mystical aspect of poetry and the revolution of this incarnation, I wrote about the Valkyrie, a powerful image from Norse mythology, a host of warrior women figures that choose who lives and who dies during the war. In invoking their image, this poem seeks to remind every woman she is a survivalist who has the power to choose and build her own destiny despite anyone trying to stop her through life’s wars.