Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BooksMarch 13, 2020

The Friday Poem: The Guest House by Mohamed Hassan

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A new poem by Mohamed Hassan. 


The Guest House

In this house we

have one rule:


                                         bring only what you want to

                             leave behind


We open doors

with both hands

passing batons

from death to life


Come share with us

this tiny peace


We built from broken tongues

and one-way boarding passes


From kauri bark

and scholarships


From kaitiaki

and kin


In this house

we are

                                         all broken

                                         all strange

                                         all guests


We are holding

space for you




Come angry

Come dazed

Come hand against your frail

Come open wounded

Come heart between your knees

Come sick and sleepless

Come seeking shelter

Come crawling in your lungs

Come teeth inside your grief

Come shattered peace

Come foreign doubt

Come unrequited sun

Come shaken soil

Come unbearable canyon

Come desperately alone

Come untuned blossom

Come wild and hollow prayer

Come celestial martyr

Come singing doubt

Come swimming to land

Come weep

Come whisper

Come howl into embrace

Come find

                                         a new thread

                                         a gentle light

                                         a glass jar to hold

                                                                    your dust

Come closer

Come in

                                         you are welcome, brother.


Listen to Mohamed Hassan’s new podcast series The Guest House, which explores the stages of grief after the Christchurch attacks. Available on RNZiTunes and Spotify.

The Friday Poem is edited by Ashleigh Young. Submissions are welcome at

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