The Healing Power of Poetry

When life gives you lemons, release a high-profile HBO special with celebrity cameos and a "visual album" to stream exclusively on Tidal.

Beyonce's "Lemonade" had the Beyhive buzzing all weekend, with people speculating about infidelity and marital strife, applauding #blackgirlmagic and #blacklivesmatter, and dissecting the personal and political implications of an unfolding pop culture saga.

No doubt, "Lemonade" is a statement on being a black woman in America. It includes an audio clip of late civil rights leader Malcolm X, who is heard saying: 'The most disrespected person in America is the black woman." Later, the mothers of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner appear, holding framed photos of their deceased sons.

The stylized music videos are interspersed with spoken word poetry by Kenyan-born, Somali-British poet laureate Warsan Shire. The interludes are adapted from some of her poems, including "For Women Who Are Difficult To Love" and "The unbearable weight of staying (the end of the relationship)."

What gives "Lemonade" emotional depth is the use of Warsan's poetry as the voice of the protagonist, both a truthseeker and nurturer.

ANGER // "I don't know when love became elusive. What I know is, no one I know has it. My father's arms around my mother's neck, fruit too ripe to eat. I think of lovers as trees... growing to and from one another. Searching for the same light."

ACCOUNTABILITY // "Your mother is a woman and women like her can not be contained. Mother dearest, let me inherent the earth. Teach me how to make him beg. Let me make up for the years he made you wait. Did he bend your reflection? Did he make you forget your own name? Did he convince you he was a god? Did you get on your knees daily? Do his eyes close like doors? Are you a slave to the back of his head? Am I talking about your husband or your father?"

FORGIVENESS // "Baptize me... now that reconciliation is possible. If we're gonna heal, let it be glorious. 1,000 girls raise their arms. Do you remember being born? Are you thankful for the hips that cracked? The deep velvet of your mother and her mother and her mother? There is a curse that will be broken."

Warsan regularly teaches poetry workshops to uncover and heal trauma. She has written on painful subjects, from her struggles with bulimia to her experience as an undocumented refugee.

"I know that poetry has saved my life," she has said. "It helps me make sense, articulate, heal, revisit, rewrite, reimagine, celebrate, curse, ask, feel and understand."

In an interview, Warsan said "apathy is making the world rot." If apathy is the root of destruction, then feeling is the perfect antidote, the first step towards creation.

For the sake of black women, faithful lovers, growing girls, grieving mothers, yes, let's hope.

 Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who died August 2014.

Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who died August 2014.

 Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, who died February 2012.

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, who died February 2012.

 Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, who died July 2014.

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, who died July 2014.

This is my fourth blog post in a series for #The100DayProject, a project by Elle Luna. I'm naming it the #100Days ofBenevolent: an attempt to kickstart my daily blogging habit, which has been idle for years.