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Redemption Afar: Poems by Wafula p’Khisa

Image: Keoni Cabral via Flickr
Image: Keoni Cabral via Flickr

Redemption Afar

Those who sent their men to war
Still wait, forever wait
Their return at full moon.
Those whose men returned long ago
Still wait, forever wait
To be issued with their fortune.
We hoped amidst the struggle
Our blood shall dry not, but sprout
Into long-bearing palm trees of joy
As we wrestled with nightmares
As we remained awake to see dreams
We marched into death with pride!

A messiah rose from shadows then
Throned at twilight
And our song of glory waned…
He quickly fell asleep
And skies opened for rain to beat us!

We think we’ve arrived in Canaan
Every time we throne a king
Only to realize we’re still on thresholds of Egypt
Fortune comes not with ease
You must open your thighs, know people, and fill one’s stomach
To taste the kingdom of your dream
Fortune comes not with ease…

Our stars have been silenced
So into darkness we wander, condemned
Waiting, forever waiting
The beautiful ones to be born;
Upon the kingdom promised.

For even the shepherds in cathedrals,
Those chosen few to look after us
Can’t stand hunger and thirst–
They scramble for sheep,
Sell to us salvation;
Whilst eating us with relish
Without violence robbing us!


A Harvest of Chaff

We must demolish the stores
We built for our dreams
This season’s meager harvest
Won’t nourish them to hatch.

Ignorance made us throw seeds into weeds
Which choked them, thus in yielding flourish
We see their stomachs bulge, and swell with self-importance
And envy wisemen that sowed in good soils.

I nearly fainted on line waiting to commune
with the tribal demigods
we ingeniously negotiated to throne:
About my security, my health and rioting stomach;
Unending strikes and idleness for men of skill
And my share of the meat
But they sent uniformed men
To show me the way home
To wait and hear from them on TV or Radio
Soon I heard they are on holiday in Dubai!

The sweat we shed goes to waste
When all we harvest is pure chaff
They waste millions on curtains, gates, wheelbarrows and dolls
Whilst hunger hands us to worms
They pinch millions to build empires for pets
Whilst their kinsmen sleep in holes and nests!

We must demolish the stores
We built for our dreams
Until the next planting season
This season’s meager harvest
Won’t nourish them to hatch.


I Too Loved Once

We don’t look at youngsters holding hands
Or passionately licking each other’s lips
And marvel how deeply in love they are
Whilst despising an old geezer around
What eats them is just a disease sweet
Wafted by wind of time
They will soon take paths different
When the storm appears.

Some girls shouldn’t seriously be taken
By men socially insecure
They are like a poor flag
Blown either way by wind
But too selective in consumption

My people
Girls of my age
outdo themselves
They send our fathers into graves
With long-distance bedroom marathons
Craving for their fat pension packages!

Is it the content of a man’s pockets
or how far he wanders on Earth
that tether women round him
like a cow to a tree?
The recipe of genuine love
that nourishes lovebirds till sunset
boasts of ingredients
we fail to grasp!

So I found solace communing with the bottle–
The only comrade who’ll never fail man
and reduce him into firewood
To be picked by women to warm their cold thighs
and be dumped like a napkin!
Accuse not the bottle thus
for cutting my craving for bearded meat;
Accuse not the bottle thus
for breaking down my engine
I too loved once
But she whom my heart danced for
Vanished like morning virginity, upon seeing the sun.

Put not your eyes on me thus
and commune in whispers;
Suppressing not your laughter
There is no pride in back-biting man–
Rain-beaten all his life
due to another’s undoing
I too loved once
But she whom my heart danced for
Vanished like morning virginity, upon seeing the sun.

Poems: © Wafula p’Khisa
Image: Keoni Cabral via Flickr

Wafula p’Khisa
Wafula p’Khisa
Wafula p'Khisa is a poet, writer and teacher from Kenya. He studied English, Literature & Education at Moi University. His work has been published in The Legendary (issue 48), Aubade Magazine (issue 1), The Seattle Star, The Beacon (ebook anthology), Scarlet Leaf Review, Antarctica Journal, NYSAI Press,, Best 'New' African Poets 2015 Anthology,, The Pendulum, Mgv2 Magazine, Lunaris Review, Best 'New' African Poets 2016 Anthology, PPP Ezine (vol 2, issue 1), Advaitam Speaks Literary Journal (vol 2, issue 1), Basil O' Flaherty Journal, Emanations (issue 2), The New Ink Review, Better Than Starbucks Magazine (April issue,2018), Disgrace Land (ebook anthology on Zimbabwe), Tuck Magazine and Best 'New' African Poets 2017 anthology. His work has also been published in French.


  1. There’s a nice traditional feel to your poem that leaves a thrill. I enjoyed the simple diction; made for a good read.
    Funny how you got into the garb of an old man and did well by taking us back in the days, even as I felt a pipe in your mouth smoking. From your poem, you could easily have been a Baba sitting at a village fire stringing verse from the flames to young ones…

    Well done on this man. Well done.

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