A GREAT HARVEST
You found us saner, sober and serious
With dreams, debts and damsels to attend to;
Then blew your trumpet
and the village suddenly broke into
an ecstatic, violent dance.
We threw stones;
and called names
We drank dead;
and twisted necks
To follow the rhythm.
The eyeball of the sky had just retired behind the curtains of clouds,
Leaving the sky screaming its bowels out, and sweeping off the map desolate homesteads
The beastly army worms had reduced the miserable crop;
Threatening unga and sugar to withdraw their pretty faces from shelves
But you didn’t want to address this!
Nobody sang of the scandalous storms
Blowing our granaries atop the hills beyond
Nobody sang of the swelling tumbocracy
Ailing our graduates, and drawing many into darkness
Even the muted voices of dissent were traded in shallow whispers
Truth, with its weird, puzzled look; is a strange guest at a feast of lies!
You’d only come to offer earth children a sacramental taste of milk and honey
Lying abundantly in the world you dream for us
We thus lined up– on markets and village footpaths
like a silly hen dancing to a cock’s seduction song
for a Christmas cocktail!
YOU NEVER SAID YOU LOVE ME
The world knows I’m innocent
and the life you bleed, and water you shed
aren’t consequences of my undoing.
But I plead guilty– I’ve been blind, really blind and deaf
to notice not endless comings and goings; and read wild desires written all over your rare face
to listen not to your emotional chants, whispered into the corridor of my ear by the wind
if someone’s to pay for ruining a beautiful dream
I’ll be first on the hangman’s menu of death!
I fail to comprehend this sudden change of tune, I fail to comprehend kabisa!
that when you came and went, came and went, forever
it was your unforgiving emotions pushing to perch onto feeble branches of my heart
and its gates couldn’t let them in–
they were still bleeding from recent heartbreaks perhaps.
I never doubted your smile– it’s genuine like a man’s natural suit
But how could I tell that your lips longed to be kissed?
How could I tell that you craved my hands to navigate through the valleys and hills
of your geographical endowments?
How could I see tears, when you safely concealed them in a rare infectious laughter?
If I knew how to read the silent code of love, l wouldn’t have left you in the wilderness
I wouldn’t have left you lonely and unwanted, dying within
SOMEWHERE IN KITALE
Everyone thinks fortune lies quietly herein, completely untouched
by the hands that tear our basket, and stick their nails down our throats
for something to quench the fire of appetite roasting their insides;
whoever dines and drinks from the spring herein thus, must grow fat and tall
for a man, bathing in abundance, needs not be sad.
But I’m yet to feel the gentle touch of blessings, rolling off saintly tongues
like water on leaves of grass
I shelved dreams, strained muscles, and bled to my last drop of blood
only to grow thin and weak instead
Isn’t man supposed to fatten on his sweat?
I’ve watched wild, tidal waves come — in the open eye of a storm
to drift some into the troubled sea of oblivion
who came dreaming, but leave holding their hearts, bleeding.
I’ve watched green ideas stumble and fall, because embracing them we refuse
Giants of dismissal threaten to devour us, verily
but we refuse to leave, for our clouded eyes fail to trace moonlit paths out of this jungle.
Poems © Wafula p’Khisa