what drives the poem

For me poetry is about feeling. It’s about those issues that I grapple with everyday. Some of the things that inspire me maybe as simple as a song that I used to listen to way back or may be triggered by someone’s name or a smile. What’s hardest is when this happens and I am driving in traffic and I can’t stop because I will be late for work and words keep pounding in my head. Or in the middle of the night when I cant summon the energy to get out of bed and do some writing. I feel bad in the morning when I can only grasp shreds of some profound feeling that I had in the wee hours. I keep telling myself that I must by one of those Dictaphone thingamajigs but I have never gotten round to doing so. This would be cool so that when I get to where I am going or become full awake, I can just rewind and put all the sentences together and hope that I can make sense of the confusion.

Recently one of the people who reads my poetry (and I am flattered by all of you who think that I write half decently) asked me why they were all so sad. Then I didn’t have an answer but I have been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks and I think I now have a somewhat wholesome answer.

Up to two three years ago I never wrote anything and never read poetry. Since I started reading I have become amazed at what is out there (here)! Not from the famous poets but from ordinary people living ordinary lives that I can relate to. The amount of talent that is out there is unbelievable. Everyday I am blown away by what my fellow Kenyans feel and how well they put it across. I honestly feel that they have inspired me most. Most of what I read (and really feel) and what I write is based on human emotions. It is therefore correct to say that I am most at ease writing about what I am feeling or have felt. Since most of my poems are sad doesn’t mean that I am sad person. Far from that it- I am one of the happiest fun loving people that I know!! That said, I feel that in terms of memory- sorrow, hurt and pain are the ones remembered longest. Good times come and go, as do sad moments but sorrow is so much deeper and lasts so much longer. We feel it more.

When your relationship is on the brink and you are about to break up with a companion it is the hurt that drives you. Even if you’ve spent years together the happy times will always pale next to the sad ones. I think this is because human beings are sensitive to each other more than to anything else.

As long as we continue to live people will always write about sadness- maybe as an act of trying to warn others of lifes challenges and to pass on the knowledge that no situation is permanent. The knowledge that the sun will always rise tomorrow and there is always hope for joy and laughter no matter how shortlived.

I promised myself that I would try a little harder to write about the things that make me smile everyday and those that make go to bed with a warm feeling every night.



Jay said...


Isn't it sad that pain and sadness stay with us longer. That they eclipse even the happy times.

I think the trick is to make the good times eclipse the sad times. At least that's what I try to do every day. I don't succeed as much as I'd want to, but at least I try to.


UARIDI said...

I like what you have said about your poetry. Isn't it exciting to nurse a poem (or an artistic insight)and see it blossom? Sometimes you are not sure how the words got together to become that particular poem. When I look at my paintings afterwards, I am amazed at how things turn out, sometimes never quite sure how the painting got to be.

I am pleased to see Kenyan poets coming alive, there is hope for our country's writers.

kipepeo said...

u trully have a talent. i feel the emotions but i cannot for the life of me get them expresed! lets make this a smiley!! (",)

Farmgal said...

the clocks on your blog
Thika......Dc laughing out loud! will read this post and come back

Farmgal said...

I told myself many times that i would buy one of those dicta...thingies but never got round to it. I love singing and used to get inspirations plus the tune to go with a i dont have any!

I think you should write what you feel, dont try too hard to write happy stuff unless you get inspired.

LifeMoments said...

I feel you on me I do.....

Ps: thanks for the comment

Prousette said...

Happiness is so fleeting, sadness intense actually the in between moments are the majority of the time when you are neither happy nor sad just getting on with you life.
I would have wished to have the mundane everyday activities inspire me unfortunately they do not inspire more than two words at a time.
I really enjoy your poems even the sad-"ish" ones.