Saturday, 5 March 2011

Hongera Mama Wangari Maathai

( This is the second poem of a series of poems to celebrate women on the International Women's Day on 8th March 2011. This poem honours the Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai)

[ Image from ]

You need no introduction, Mama
As lawyers will say, " We take judicial notice"
For you are not only a household-name in Kenya
But also as far as Tajikistan.

I was at Uhuru Park the other day
And as I lay on green grass and stared at the blue skies
A nudging thought ate my mind:
What if your hair hadn't been pulled?
What if you hadn't been whipped and tear-gassed?
What if you hadn't put your life on the line?

Hongera Mama Wangari Maathai
Thank you for that heroic act.

Oft-times I see you on telly
That broad smile, that motherly head-gear
You talking about our trees, our rivers
And our grandchidren
In you, I don't see a person
Instead I see a generation of children unborn
In you, I don't see Kenya
Instead I see our world and its beauty

Sadly, too, Mama
Behind you on the telly I see a shadow
Of an axe felling a forest,  Highrise building on a wet area
Behind you I see a plume of Greenhouse Gases
Behind you I see an Enviro-assassin, most devious
Most vile

But again, Mama, hongera
For fighting for Uhuru Park:
For in that one single act
We escape the concrete jungle
And if Nature be for us, we are on the right path.

In deed, you need no introduction
As the Nairobi morning sun kisses Uhuru Park
As the birds chirp, tired souls sleep on grass
As children row their midget boats
As the tranquility tiptoes to numbed minds
Somehow, your name is immortalized
Hongera Mama Wangari Maathai.

Hongera-- A Kiswahili word for thank you, congratulations.
Mama-- A Kiswahili word for mum, it is a respected title for a mother.

C) Lorot Salem 2011


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Okay this one is my favorite and it is BRILLIANT!!!!! What an homage for a wonderful woman, whose name is known even way over here in western Canada:) You might send this poem to her, it would gladden her heart and make her smile her wonderful smile. And, Salem, your last stanza, full of the beauty surrounding you in your part of the world, is inspired. It is inspiring. It is a song! an ode to beauty!

Salem Lorot said...

I will be sending it to her. I have always wished to meet her and say to her 'thank you' but it looks like this poem will do that part. :)

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