Mary Kimani is a journalist. She covered the Rwanda genocide trials at the UN court in Tanzania, as well as the peace processes in Burundi and the DRC for Internews and Reuters. She has been writing poetry from a young age. One of her earliest pieces, Children of an Inferior God, was included in a British Council Anthology published in 1991. Recently, she published a collection of poems under the title, He Didn't Die Easy: The Search for Hope Amidst Poverty, War and Genocide.
Am I Not Allowed to Weep?
let me die in peace.
Don’t you know?
in some cases,
death is preferable to life,
preferable to pain
preferable to anguish
preferable to hope.
Hope is like an open sore
open and vulnerable to the elements.
each additional injury
making it sore and sensitive.
And in the midst of this unceasing rain,
Drenching us cold,
Soaking our mud walled rooms,
Trickling through the pock marched roof
What do you want me do to or say
Will you still demand of me
Strength and courage
Am I not allowed to weep?
And groan and moan?
Am I not allowed to weep?
I imagined many things…
But not this-
Not misery raining from the sky
not homes long overgrown
not miles of farmland abandoned
un-harvested produce- rotting
not acres of humanity
acres of miserable
soaking in the rain.
The End Of Infinity
The stairwell goes nowhere.
It cascades endlessly into emptiness—
Hopes lie dashed somewhere at the end of this infinity.
The flowers bloom,
but there is no scent.
Bees do not come here.
The apparent look of life
hides the death that encroaches day after day.
There is a weeping sound in the wind,
you won’t hear it,
but I do.
It is the familiar sound of wailing minds.
I pause, listen, and weep.
There is little else to do.
We have been dying a long time,
and though the bodies no longer litter the streets—
The dying has not stopped.
We die a little every day,
peering down the stairwell that goes nowhere,
reaching in vain
for the hopes that lie dashed
somewhere at the end of this infinity.
Of Nightly Dreams
fill my mind, their acidic bite like a
rash from poison ivy or stinging nettles.
I wake up from my nightly dreams,
shivering from the nightmares—
Still I keep fanning hope for tranquil nights,
nights filled with dreams of folly,
dreams of laughter.
I push unwelcome thoughts away by day,
packing every second with meaningless bustle
unsuccessfully postponing the moment
that I must fall asleep.
And in my troubled slumber,
I flee from things that I can never outrun,
defend myself from attacks that never end,
bury interminable numbers of bodies.
I wake up drained
without the strength to face the world.
The taste of dying and bitter hopes fills my mouth,
I long for days without shadows moving in the dark
when the menace lurking in my dreams
is blunted by easier times.