‘Let the Parts of the Flower Speak’: a poem by Mona Arshi

Poetry And – Human Rights’, a free discussion and meet-the-author book signing with prize-winning poet and lawyer Mona Arshi and Shadow Attorney General and member of the House of Lords Shami Chakrabarti, curated by Ruth Padel, takes place on Wednesday 28 November in King’s College London’s elegant Council Room on the Strand, 7.15-9pm. Please register for this free event, with free drinks reception after, here

Below is a poem by Mona from her new collection Dear Big Gods, to be published by Pavilion Poetry in Spring 2019. 



    Let the Parts of the Flower Speak


i.  pedicel

You think you have illumed me
because you have translated me?
Please read me variantly with
a green fevered mind.

ii. ovary

There’s nothing sharp in
this house. All my terrors
my crowded out babies,half/half-
trembling little faces of gold.
I have no other vision than this.

iii. filament

I have certain tendencies and these
tendencies may conflict with your
tendencies most certainly.

iv.  petal/izaat/respect

what would a faithful
rendering have demanded?
Petal etiquette;
How does one bear it?
This is my dharma
turning yellow after
initial growth.

v. stamen

The curse: almost certainly mis-
pronounced by a man.
Draw me faithfully-bitch, stable-witch
What does my ambiguity permit?

vi. style

I am not observant,
Why are you bringing
God into this?
And this my love
is going nowhere.

vii. sepal

My little bastard verses
tiny polyglot faces
how light you are
how virtually weightless.

viii. anther

Speak into me with your
mouth close to my
humming surface
beyond flower memory
leaf and loam
past rootlets
through the
aortic arch
glinting hearts of the
rosy-tipped worm.


Mona Arshi

About Mona Arshi

Mona Arshi was born in West London where she still lives. She worked as a Human Rights lawyer for a decade before she started writing poetry. She was a prize-winner in the Magma, Troubadour and Manchester Creative writing competitions. Her debut collection, ‘Small Hands’ (Pavilion Poetry, Liverpool University Press), won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. Her second collection, 'Dear Big Gods', will be published by Pavilion Poetry in Spring 2019.