Monday, 30 July 2012

Sacking the City of God? Really?

I had been talking a lot and writing a lot,
But a few weeks ago,
I wanted to read more and listen more,
So I delved into what Paulo Coelho writes
Dug into Ngugi Thiong’o’s ‘Grain of Wheat’ and
‘I Will Marry When I Want’
Read some more of Stephen Covey and Holy Texts
The Bhagavadgitas and the Quran and the Dhammapada

Then having circled around these
Skirting along these great mysteries
I listened, with amusement, the great
‘Hitchens v Hitchens’ debate
Two brothers tousling up on whether God is there or not
And for good effect, I watched PZ Myers’ ‘Sacking the City of God’
I watched and listened and pondered

I watched Richard Dawkins’ lectures
‘Now Praise Intelligent Design’ and ‘the Poetry of Science’
And ‘the Purpose of Purpose’
And ‘Why evolution is True’ by Jerry Coyne
And Richard Feynman on ‘the Character of Physical Law’

Brilliant minds, these,
But as for me, I believe in the great God,
Tororot, the God of the Rising Sun,
I don’t have a brilliant mind to understand these great mysteries
But at least I have faith God is there
They call Him ‘proximate cause’,
I call Him ‘Tororot, the God the Rising Sun’
He created Kacheliba Hill with its magnificent cap
He created me and has seen me grow
He is the author of my poetry
Unlike Hitchen’s ‘God is Not Great’
My Tororot is GREAT,
Yes, like Hitchens, I might not understand the mysteries
But that DOESN’T REMOVE THE FACT that Tororot is there
The order in the creation of this world sings of the glory of HIM
The kitmikai, the rock-upon-rock in Kisumu, my Tororot created it
Everything, almost, about the majesty of nature
Is in line with Truth, the Truth that Tororot is there
That is my belief and with what has happened in my life,
My Tororot is a living testimony
That might sound unscientific or plausible
But I am willing to be stupid on behalf of Tororot.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Telegram from the hills

It has been a while since I penned a poem. I am busy reading a couple of books. I realized that I need to read more books. As a writer, it would be foolhardy to strive to write more without reading more. In fact, it is by reading more that one writes better.

Recently, Paulo Coelho has been my favourite author. I read the Alchemist a while ago and I fell in love with his writing. Right now I am reading his other titled ‘By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept’. There are a couple of other titles in queue. Along with these, I am also reading 'The Law of Success' by Napoleon Hill.

There are also a collection of about four books of proverbs that I am reading quite slowly. One of them is a collection of Hausa proverbs. I love them.

The other day I was challenged by a book club which listed classic books and asked how many one had read. This got me thinking. I haven’t been reading. And I am not talking about those articles or newspapers or magazines that you count as your ‘books’. No. I am talking about 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire',   'Prose Every Child Should Know' edited by Mary E. Burt, or 'So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You' a memoir by Bert Brun, and so on. For your information, Prose Every Child Should Know is like a must-read for an adult. After reading it, you realize how much you never knew much of the basics. The Aesop’s Fables, written in their characteristic brevity, makes for an enjoyable read too.

I am in the reading room.

I thought I should have let you know.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

#Wamathaijuly: Kenya's Poetry, Songs and Photography

On Saturday, the 14th of July 2012, I had the privilege of attending #Wamathaijuly at the Michael Joseph (MJ) Centre, Nairobi, Kenya. Well, you guessed it. It was an evening of poetry, song and photography. I enjoyed myself.

The emcees for the event were Sam Buggz and Stella Nasambu. In the photo is Stella Nasambu doing her stuff.

Elpoet performing and below with Samo & The Almighty, doing their favourite, "The School Bell Rings"

Jemedari performing his piece "Letter to the President" 

I was impressed by her. Didn't quite get her name but her Kiswahili poem was brilliant.

The drummer for DempseynTheBoys, the trio self-described as " A kenyan trio of ordinary guys performing extra-ordinary music". You have to check out DempseynTheBoys at twitter.

Below, Julie Wang'ombe perfoming her piece, "Genocide"

Wangari performing her piece "The Revolution will be Televised"

Njeri Wangari, favouritely known as Kenyanpoet on twitter, the author of the poetry book "Minds and Minefields" reading her poem and below, performing a moving piece lamenting the digital age.

Mwende Ngao (MwendeSusu, on twitter) performing her two pieces, 'Ground' and 'The Dream Valley'

Kavosa, performing her piece.

Wamathai, the host, the brainchild of #Wamathaijuly and wamathai performing two pieces.

Moraa Onsando, strumming the guitar, Kenya's diva to watch. Follow her music at www.soundcloud/moraa-onsando

KOA Photography. Check out what they have been up to here.

Bobby Muirugi, performing.

Ngartia, doing a vernacular piece. Great talent!

Si ni Sisi stole the show. Their costumes, their stage presence, the lead, the drummers, the dancers, everything about them was well choreographed and executed. Echoes of the Hills wishes you well.

"This was the life of the warriors!"

Adelle, performing her piece. Don't be sad, be happy, is all that we can say.

Ndila, performing "Mr. Jailer". Wonderful rendition!

Now looking forward to #WamathaiSeptember. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Happy People

These people have discovered where happiness lies. I simply admire the elderly man in the merry-go-round, completely oblivious of what others might think about him.

Picture taken on 15th July at the Uhuru Park Recreational Grounds, Nairobi.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Let Kenya Be

We will never leave you
For at the darkest hours we stood by
We know your pain, for we have lived it,
We know what sorrow is, for we have felt it

Kenya, the land of hypocrites
Where, the sons of mau mau live in holes
Figuratively interred by the graves of their fathers
Yet you who have lived the pain, show us your scars
Show us your bullet marks, strip so that we may witness

We are the defining moment, countrymen and women,
The point where we are at take-off
We were left by Singapore and Korea
We cannot afford to get lost again

It has always been defining moments, for all we care
1963 was a defining moment too
And year by year, we have grown weary of speeches
Speeches coated with poetry and stolen from America
With time, brother, we have shut our ears to those take offs
1963, we had all the hope, all the dream, all the vision
What makes you think we are excited by these?

At independence, we swore to fight disease, ignorance and illiteracy
This remains our rallying call
And with it, we have new challenges,
Corruption at our offices, boss leadership,
Nepotism, favouritism, tunnel-visioned leadership…
Blah blah blah blah

Name them all, name them all,
But like a song from a scratched CD, you annoy,
There was a time we were excited by you,
You naming all the vices strangling us
And with the naiveté we had, we exclaimed,
‘Now, that is our prophet, our seer’
And with all our energy from our malnourished stomachs
We carried you high, your big body weighing upon us,
Some, like victims of any revolution, died from suffocation
Or dislocated spines, and we buried them silently
But now, you are no seer, tell us what you will do
When, how, why, and if need be slap your forehead
Lick your tongue and swear before our ancestors

This is the blue-print to our future, Wanjikus,
In it, I lay out what I will do for Kenya
In agriculture for example—no rain-fed agriculture
In security— two pistols for every cop
In education— a salary hike to teachers
In health— bigger and well-equipped hospitals

Blue-prints, that’s right,
Written by technocrats holed up in offices
Consulting on big tomes and countless reports
Pray, mr. blue-print, if only you listened to the
Hoes of farmers in the fields, you wouldn’t speak a thing
The police are shot every day, their numbers are few,
They live in decrepit shacks divided by curtains
And there you are, unashamedly promising them more pistols,
No, they need no pistols, they need more respect,
To patrol the city with the dignity worth their ranks
To retreat to houses that speaks of the Nation’s respect for them
The teachers, the teachers need not be lied to
As if they were the children they educate
We owe it to teachers for who we are,
Pray, was it fair to reduce all this to carrot and stick?
And health care, why should it be promised?
Why should doctors strike?
What message does it send to a mkokoteni pusher?

You have known me all this time,
I helped establish blah blah blah,
Trust me with this honour,
I am different
I am not like my predecessors
I was in a bad system
I was not corrupt

Same lies, same mouth, different times,
We have watched you silently, in disgust,
You talking in our TVs, speaking filth all your life,
You did less, you spoke much, you forgot us,
And in the corrupt system you grew up in,
You trained yourself how to bend your head,
To look away when the darkest crimes were committed
Your hands are filled with blood
Of the many you killed when you didn’t speak
You looted much, you gave less,
You have done a little less out of shame
Not by some sense of service within you
You are power-hungry, you are after yourself
And you are corrupt, very corrupt

What Kenya needs are leaders who can preach peace
We should not have a repeat of 2007/2008

Well said, well said,
Yes, they need leaders who can preach peace
Not you, not you,
You are the greatest enemy to Kenya’s peace
If only you had noticed how the skies sigh
Every time you spew bilge, you would not speak,
Why is it that vultures hover around your meetings?
May be I should not ask, but with respect,
You will do everyone good if you let Kenya be

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