Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

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.


Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o is a prolific, award-winning Kenyan writer, poet and academic who writes in English and Gikuyu. He has produced several dozens of novels, plays, essays and children's books. He is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

The above poem "Dawn of Darkness" is a response to "Doggerel" by neighbor Janet DiVincenzo as well as "In Our Times" by Mukoma wa Ngugi of Cornell University, and "Another Twilight" by Naveen Kishore of Seagull Publishers, Kolkata, India (included below). 


In Our Times

By Mukoma wa Ngugi



Dying is now truly lonely

no loved ones by your side

or at your wake

In the crematorium

a lone technician cries

Out in the cemetery

all stand six feet apart

to your six feet under

(yes, terrible puns are fact now)

But believe this love

like your god does embrace us all.


Mukoma Wa Ngugi is a Kenyan author, poet and academic. He is Associate Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity and Ownership. His works include the novels Mrs. Shaw, Black Star Nairobi and Nairobi Heat, two books of poetry, Logotherapy and Hurling Words at Consciousness.  His novel Unbury Our Dead With Song about competing Tizita musicians is forthcoming from Cassava Republic Press (Fall of 2020). 


Another Twilight

By Naveen Kishore


with nothing left to lose          except

except its silver sheen

the night          waits


at a courteous distance

for us to complete our conversation

in utter            silence


will we meet again?

meet perhaps at another         removed twilight


Naveen Kishore is a publisher, poet and artist who founded Seagull Books in 1982, a radical publishing program in the arts and media focusing on drama, film, art and culture studies. Seagull Books has published some of the most important revered writers in twentieth and twenty-first century world literature.