Come away, my love, from streets
Where mankind eyes divide,
And show windows reflect our difference.
In the shelter of my faithful room rest.
There, safe from opinions, being behind
Myself, I can see only you
And in my dark eyes your grey
The candlelight throws
Two dark shadows on the wall
Which merge into one as I close beside you.
When at last the lights are out,
And I feel your hand in mine,
Two human breaths join in one,
And the piano weaves
Its unchallenged harmony.
Joseph Kariuki is a Kenyan poet. Born in Banana Hill, Kenya and educated both at Makerere College, Uganda and Cambridge University, England. His most famous poem is an ode to former Kenyan president, Jomo Kenyatta.
The sun is locked in evening, half shadow
half light, hills spread like hunchbacks over
plains, branches bowing to birth of night.
It’s an almost endless walk until the earth
opens up to a basin of water. You gasp
even the thin hairs on your forearm breathe,
flowers wild, two graves of man and wife
lying in perfect symmetry, overrun by wild
strawberries. Gently you part the reeds,
water claims the heat from the earth, you
soak your feet, then lie down hands planted
into the moist earth. You glow. Late at night
when you leave, you will fill your pockets
with wet clay. But many years from now,
you will try to find a perfect peace in many
different landscapes, drill water out of memory
to heal wounded limbs of the earth. You
will watch as machines turn your pond
inside out, spit the two graves inside out
in search of sleek wealth. Many years
later, after much blood has been lost and your
pond drained of all life you will wonder, shortly
before you become the earth’s martyr, what
is this thing that kills not just life but even death?
Mukoma Wa Ngugi, is the son of renowned African writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Born in Evanston, Illinois, he grew up in Kenya and is the author of Black Star Nairobi (2013), Nairobi Heat (2011), and Hurling Words at Consciousness (2006). He was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009, and the Penguin Prize for African Writing for his novel manuscript, The First and Second Books of Transition, in 2010. He teaches at Cornell University.
Culled From: http://mukomawangugi.com/
The African Book Review is posting a poem from each of Africa’s 55 countries over the next few weeks. Poem suggestions can be sent through the comments form below. ‘Like’ us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to read all the poems.