“Don’t tell me stories about great kings/tell me stories about great queens who ran the world/ and were never heard of/ Don’t tell me what to become/let me become what I want/ Don’t use religion against me/or threaten me with hell/Being a slave to a man is hell enough”.
Nour Morjan is a feminist Syrian immigrant living in Shropshire. Hers is poetry of resistance, rebellion and activism. Her poems express a powerful belief in women’s right to own their bodies; she questions both patriarchal societies in general but also deep-rooted religious impositions as a woman in her quest to discover a comfortable, happy, place. Juggling being a Muslim feminist — who refuses to wear a headscarf and who has strong opinions on abortion rights— with being a mother and wife is certainly not an easy task.
“All the open spaces are free/no effort/no pain/no need to fit in/and because we could fit anywhere/we could be the space”
In her poetry, readers can sense Nour’s internal battles to find a sense of belonging, lost when she moved to the UK. In constant dialogue with herself, as an immigrant, she experiences loss of identity, cultural shock, but also self-growth. Living between cultures gives Nour Morjan an insight into what makes her a woman.
Here, she is her own space where she doesn’t need to fit in to be recognised as an independent woman and to celebrate herself. She is the ‘queen’ of her destiny and unlike those female monarchs who have been hidden by His-tory, she writes poetry which helps her to create her own Her-story.
She is the place, and she is the power that patriarchy and religion constantly try to undermine.