Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Knowing we are currently in a pandemic, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o graciously wrote this poem and would like it to be shared widely. We hope it brings you comfort. The poem was written on March 23, 2020. Read it and share! 

***

I know, I know,

It threatens the common gestures of human bonding

The handshake,

The hug

The shoulders we give each other to cry on

The Neighborliness we take for granted

So much that we often beat our breasts

Crowing about rugged individualism,

Disdaining nature, pissing poison on it even, while

Claiming that property has all the legal rights of personhood

Murmuring gratitude for our shares in the gods of capital.

Oh how now I wish I could write poetry in English,

Or any and every language you speak

So I can share with you, words  that

Wanjikũ, my Gĩkũyũ mother, used to tell me:

Gũtirĩ ũtukũ ũtakĩa:

No night is so Dark that,

It will not end in Dawn,

Or simply put,

Every night ends with dawn.

Gũtirĩ ũtukũ ũtakĩa.

This darkness too will pass away

We shall meet again and again

And talk about Darkness and Dawn

Sing and laugh maybe even hug

Nature and nurture locked in a green embrace

Celebrating every pulsation of a common being

Rediscovered and cherished for real

In the light of the Darkness and the new Dawn.

___________________

Ngugi has said that the poem is “a response to doggerel by neighbor Janet DiVincenzo, and offerings by Mukoma wa Ngugi, of Cornell University and Naveen Kishore of Seagull Publishers, Kolkata, India.” You can find Mukoma’s and Kishore’s poems here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Let’s Rewind: April 2020 | Zezee with Books - May 1, 2020

    […] Dawn of Darkness | by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o | Poetry (brittlepaper.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Kwame Dawes’s “Yard Boy”: A Powerful Poem for Our Moment

153602001522332304

Kwame Dawes recently wrote a poem titled “Yard Boy” that speaks to the recent events surrounding the death of George […]

Teju Cole’s Spotify Playlists Offer Musical Solace for These Times

PoliticsAndMore-021819-TejuCole

Among Teju Cole’s many talents is his ability to curate music that captures a mood or even the feel of […]

Petina Gappah to Write Play About the Censorship History of Dambudzo Marechera’s Novel Black Sunlight

Untitled design

Petina Gappah recently announced that she was writing a play that focuses on “the 1982 banning and unbanning” of Dambudzo […]

Oh, Blessed Bri’Land | Jedah Mayberry | Fiction

fiction brittle paper Jedah Mayberry

Bri’Land glistened at me, her brilliant display of pink sand shimmering in delight.  It would seem that I had finally, […]

Books That Go with Wine and Books That Don’t

literary lifestyle wine and books

The beverages most associated with reading are tea and coffee. But many readers love to cozy up in bed with […]

In This House | Inok Rosemary | Poetry

poetry brittle paper inok rosemary

  In this house, we sift our words, Never letting the walls hear what they shouldn’t. The fear of their […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.