Read Hannah Baker’s Poem From 13 Reasons Why

30 June 2017, 17:08 | Updated: 18 January 2018, 16:26

Hannah Baker 13 Reasons Why Poem
Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

In episode 8, Hannah Bakers writes a moving poem about her struggles and it's had a big impact on viewers.

Ryan Shaver is the focus of Hannah’s tape in the 8th episode of 13 Reasons Why. Before this point he appeared to be a secondary character with little significance to Hannah’s life but, as we soon find out, and like almost every other person on the tapes, he’s been a massive dick to Hannah.

She starts to attend poetry recitals in the hope that she might be able to find some purpose in her life and she’s inspired to write her own poetry after watching Ryan Shaver, the school’s magazine editor, reading one of his poem. A friendship quickly develops and perishes soon after as Ryan betrays her by publishing one of her poems against her will in the school magazine. While the poem is anonymous, it is a photocopy of the handwritten original copy. People who were been close to Hannah recognise her writing and rumours start to fly round the school that it’s her.

Honestly Ryan, fuck you.

The poem is derided by the other students for its provocative opening and perceived earnestness. However, anyone with half a brain can see it’s a very moving reflection on Hannah’s existence which touches on her sense of loneliness and how badly she has been treated by others. “How many circles can I walk before I give up looking?” she asked at one point, before the prophetic line: “How long before I’m lost for good.”

The poem has touched many people who've watched the show, in particular those who have experienced bullying and/or problems with their mental health, so we’d thought we’d share it here in case you’d like to read it again. 

Today I am wearing lacy black underwear

For the sole purpose of knowing I am wearing them.

And underneath that?

I am absolutely naked.

And I’ve got skin. Miles and miles of skin;

I’ve got skin to cover all my thoughts

like saran wrap that you can see through

to what leftovers are inside from the night before.

And despite what you might think, my skin is not rough; nor is it bullet proof.

My skin is soft, and smooth, and easily scarred.

But that doesn’t matter, right?

You don’t care about how soft my skin is.

You just want to hear about what my fingers do in the dark.

But what if all they do is crack open windows?

So I can see lightening through the clouds.

What if all they crave is a jungle gym to climb for a taste of fresher air?

What if all they reach for is a notebook or a hand to hold?

But that’s not the story you want.

You are licking your lips and baring your teeth.

Just once I would like to be the direction someone else is going.

I don’t need to be the water in the well.

I don’t need to be the well.

But I’d like to not be the ground anymore.

I’d like to not be the thing people dig their hands in anymore.

Some girls know all the lyrics to each other’s songs.

They find harmonies in their laughter.

Their linked elbows echo in tune.

What if I can’t hum on key?

What if my melodies are the ones nobody hears?

Some people can recognize a tree,

A front yard, and know they’ve made it home.

How many circles can I walk in before I give up looking?

How long before I’m lost for good.

It must be possible to swim in the ocean of the one you love without drowning.

It must be possible to swim without becoming water yourself.

But I keep swallowing what I thought was air.

I keep finding stones tied to my feet.

If you or someone you know needs help, then reach out to an organisation that can help. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources in other countries.