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Crawling to my Death: Poems by Levi Cheruo Cheptora



It’s been a JUBILEE of eternal waiting,
Trudging up the thorny hills,
To commemorate our hard-worn independence,
With emptiness in my stomach,
A six-month pregnant wife and ten yawning children,
Urging, psyching me up,
“Don’t give up, Pa’, not just yet!”

The sun is especially hot,
But ’am almost getting used to its taunting rays,
The persecuting glare,
And the wicked smile…
A dozen miles now to go,
A dozen miles to the finishing line,
I can see MASTER frantically waving from the window of his Limousine,
His healthy face beaming with excitement,
I look behind me and there is no sign of any living thing.
“Don’t give up, not just yet!” I whisper and take yet another step forward.

One meter to the finishing line,
I close the doors and windows of my mind,
I Ignore the sharp pain in my torn limbs,
Wave aside the piercing cry of my one-year little girl scratching her Kwashiorkor tummy,
And push my old, frail, emaciated bag of bones forward.

“Congratulations!” Master says, “You have made your country proud!”
He gives me a national flag, a copy of the constitution, and a photocopy of the National Patriotic Party Manifesto!
“Is that all”, I stutter, “Where is the ONE MILLION WINNER’S PRICE?”
Master bends, parts my sweat-drenched left shoulder, and whispers,
“This is Kenya, son! The organizers ate your prize!”



It was yesterday,
When I saw her again,
Her stare seemed unfriendly,
Far removed, maybe from fanciful ideas,
The scary pair of her eyes,
Moved with what I thought “faked uncertainty”,
Unsure in its horns of dilemma,
Only I heard the echo of silence;
That she was not herself…
For long I pondered,
Liked all the same,
For hours that I wondered,
Where exactly laid the game,
For the way she would say,
Like the proverbial maid:
“It isn’t the sweet smell of a fresh rose,
Not an overnight adventure,
Into the untamed innocence of the other…”
Inwardly, I added:
“It isn’t the huge words, painted with abstract desires,
Filthy aspirations, hidden in the claws of admirations,
Indeed, it is more than a wide smile,
Deep from the heart,
And the faint pulse that is bound,
To be committed in a cruel game,
It knows not its unfair rules!”
I watched her leave in silence,

I feared as she stepped forward,
That she might be blindfolded,
So, she will settle for the very path,
Papa had warned her many years back.
I feared she might be armed with female chauvinism,
An enormous anger,
And learn the lessons meant for her survival.
Here comes a mushrooming,
Undiscovered planet,
Whose sweet girls are freedom-thirsty?
Yet, the sole avenue of a handsome tomorrow,
Is the epicentre of their faked allegiance?
She might lead the way,
Well-armed with shattered tenets,
Debris of her inner-self,
And wholesome filth of her huge following,
Hungry and freedom-thirsty,
Perhaps submissive, unwavering…
To dig deep inside their bitter ambitions,
Of sliming their minutes, hours, days
That is the few years,
Our good God has given them,
Far and wide she might sail,
Sidestepping the counsel,
Of those she will regard as enemies,
Pieces of rotten cabbages,
Cheap bananas, successful failures,
Poor millionaires;
Maybe she will hardly play it safely,
She will stagger along the joyous way,
Embrace the beautiful, awesome, red roses
So, they will call her “Sweet Rosy”.
Every hour, every minute,
They will sing her wonderful name,
And make her ware a golden ring,
Perched with obscenities,
And maybe, blindfolded,
She might succumb to the dirt,
The filth of those icy nails,
And sadly, she might enter the devoid-null and empty abyss,
Coated with darkness so dark,
I will never see her again!


Poems: © Levi Cheruo Cheptora

Levi Cheruo Cheptora
Levi Cheruo Cheptora
Levi Cheruo Cheptora, a writer, poet, recorded singer, and freelance journalist, is based in Nairobi, Kenya. His publications are available on


  1. Hi there Pius,
    Thanks a lot for your positive comment and am glad my piece has inspired someone…wishing you the very best in your writing career…about the poem…it is a perfect mirror of the country you hear being called Kenya!!!

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