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The poem was still pulsing…

The poem was still pulsing…

– Poetry by  Esther Muthoni Wafula – May 17, 2018 –

A time to gather stones

shiny pebbles

I could not sleep
Because the poem was incomplete
The poem was incomplete
Because out I could not venture
Out I could not venture
Because it was an ungodly hour
The hour of sirens and vagabonds.

In the morning
The poem was still pulsing
In my heart like an incessant sobbing
I fled my dreams
And returned to the garden
Fell to my knees
And resumed my praying

I had to use a different language
Mine being obsolete and no longer calming
Slowly I eased from the burden.
Finally, I could open my eyes
And accept myself
There was no need for questions
It was not a time to scatter stones
But a time to gather them.

To dance alone to laughter

Dancing alone at sunset

You do not remember
Because you were not there
That winter
The pungent smell of lemongrass
The naked wetness of tears
Lilac hopes fading
Into pale whiteness

You do not understand
Because you were not there
That winter
When I came to limping
Anonymous among strangers
With only courage enough to be surprised
At nothing but the inevitable

You do not know
Because you were not there
That winter
I learnt to read people’s names
In their eyes
To remember every kindness
To decipher silence
And to dance alone to laughter.

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Will you speak?

dew drop on leaf

I am a late bloomer just like Moses
But at least he had his burning bush.
As I wander here, in these dark, howling places
I can’t help but wonder – did I already squander
All my sacred moments?

Was I too busy minding the mundane
To hear your voice in the silence?
Was I too busy counting losses
To notice the grace
With which the dew falls?

Now my feet are shorn
And my heart stripped bare
I am ready to listen
Will you speak?

Fuchsia surprise

Fuschia sky over dark forest

Was a season of silence.

Maybe it was devotion
That stilled all but the pulse of our breathing

Or was it fear
Disguised in a cloak of reverence?

We sowed at dawn
In the hour of delicate darkness

Fumbling, like little children
With the rhymes of a new language

Bewildered by its beauty
Surprised to know it without instruction.

We wonder now at this hour of harvest
What to do

With the thorn-bush of our poetry
This fuchsia surprise wounding at random.


Dry Leaves

Leaves fall to the ground
Dry and sailing light
Like kites flying downward

The day’s fading light
Is the color of memories
I once held dear.

Thoughts falling at my feet filter through the years
Musty now like old postcards I sent to myself
From places I´d rather not forget

The stamps were cheap
The moments were precious
I kept them to remember.

Artists Statement: My interest in poetry

I have loved and written poetry since my teenage years. Now in my early forties, my appreciation of poetry has only deepened. As I see it, poetry does not only inform and entertain – it is a repository of personal and community wisdom. Individually, and sometimes, corporately, we can use poems like photographs of our innermost landscapes and emotions to capture important but transitory moments of among others: joy, pain, bewilderment, loss and even the numinous.

As a therapist in the making, I understand that poetry, like dreams, taps into the unconscious and can therefore provide mysterious insight and a special way of knowing. I recognize the power of poetry as a tool for personal development and healing across the lifespan, and hope to eventually use it as an innovative therapeutic intervention with individuals and groups. I especially see the potential for using poetry to facilitate healing and growth among individuals experiencing normal or unexpected life and career transitions, as well as special populations like youth at risk, prisoners, trauma victims, and so on. And, I also believe that poetry can be leveraged with very powerful outcomes in strengthening and healing interpersonal relationships for example by enhancing empathy and healing between members of different communities that may have a history of conflict with each other. I cherish poetry for its ability to facilitate deep listening and for helping individuals and communities bear witness in the face of unspeakable tragedy or disaster.

Esther Muthoni Wafula

About the Author – Esther Muthoni Wafula

Esther Muthoni Wafula was born in Kenya in 1973. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Development Administration and Management from the University of Manchester, and has worked over the last 20 years in the humanitarian/non-profit sectors in Kenya, Mozambique, Angola and the United Kingdom. Esther Muthoni Wafula currently lives in Kenya, working as an independent Monitoring and Evaluation specialist, monitoring donor funded projects. She is also pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Daystar University in Nairobi. Esther is married and she is the mother of two young children.

Read more poems on Dreamers Creative Writing, including “Mother Poems” and “We’re here, now.”