World Poetry Day | There Are Girls Like Lions

In honour of World Poetry Day today, we are sharing a taste of the rousing and empowering new poetry collection There Are Girls Like Lions: Poems About Being A Woman. It’s a celebration of womanhood in all its dimensions, including love, beauty, friendship, motherhood, work, ageing and so much more, featuring the work of the likes of Cole Swensen, Margaret Atwood and Naomi Shihab Nye.

‘Poetry is unique in the arts in making voice literal; we speak out; we have our say in clear, plain language—or language made complex, multilayered, and expansively ambiguous. No one of these voices speaks for all, but through them, we all have a voice.’

from the Foreword by Cole Swensen

The following is extracted from There Are Girls Like Lions, Chronicle Books. 

Illustration by Karolin Schnoor

Elisabeth Hewer

Here are girls like lions,
here are girls like howling wolves.
Here are girls with such big teeth!
Here are girls who’ll play tug o’ war
with your heart or your wishbone
Or your throat, oh.

Oh, here are girls
with cold bright eyes and claws
like dragons. Here are girls who
can’t breathe air, only fire.
Here are girls who carry kindness
And katanas in their rucksacks
because they never know which they’ll need.

How do you tame girls with wildfire limbs?
How do you hold down girls with hurricane hands?

Oh, you can’t. Humble hungerer,
you’ve just got to help them rise.

There Are Girls Like Lions: Poems About Being A Woman, illustrated by Karolin Schnoor, foreword by Cole Swensen is out now.