Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 346
milk and honey is written in the style of "confessional poetry," with the first-person speaker relating her own thoughts and experiences. Kaur doesn't capitalize the first words of her lines or sentences, and she uses punctuation sparingly, often foregoing commas and periods entirely. When Kaur does use punctuation, it generally means that she's playing with the form of the poem, writing it as a long prose poem or, in one case, a list. In place of punctuation, Kaur uses line breaks to indicate where a reader should pause during their reading.
"how do you turn
a forest fire like me
so soft i turn into
This "forest fire" represents many things: love, passion, energy, rage, determination. Throughout the book, fire stands in for the speaker's complex, sometimes volatile emotions as she faces her past and wrestles with the psychological damage it caused. Water, then, has a kind of cooling effect, allowing the speaker to dampen that fire, however briefly, and become vulnerable.
Kaur introduces the symbol of the rose early in the first chapter, The Hurting. She writes,
"she was a rose
in the hands of those
who had no intention
of keeping her"
The rose reappears in the third chapter, The Breaking, not as text but as an image. Kaur draws a rose underneath her poem, visually alluding to that old adage, "Every rose has its thorns."