You are
I am

Those patterns etched into your face
Are tears carved under my eyes
Draining through the mask.

A glacial screen
The landscape of my life
Frozen into the familiar.

Washing away
As men in their folly
Plunder the spoils of the earth.

Face-to-face you say
Do not weep for me
Weep for yourself
And for your children.
For the Sahara
And its spreading.

For your soul
Marooned on an
Island of dreams

Copyright © Hana Njau-Okolo 2008-2012. All Rights Reserved.

First posted on December 10, 2008.


  1. YOU BETTER WRITE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a BEAUTIFUL poem!

    Did you get to see the Today Show's week-long story about Kilimanjaro? So incredibly sad... And yet there are still people who think global warming isn't a problem. Just yesterday in the supermarket, an old man tried to hand me a plastic bag for my bananas; when I refused, he asked why. I explained nicely that I was "doing my part" to help the earth by not polluting it with needless plastic bags... you would have thought I spit in his face. It led to a loooong discussion about God and how he wouldn't put things on the Earth that harm the Earth and all this environmental mumbo jumbo is a lark. I'm consistently amazed at peoples' ignorance. I mean, really: You would have thought I was about to set Kroger on fire because I put my bananas directly into the cart instead of into a plastic bag that would have just been discarded the moment I walked into my house.

    I weep for our children, for sure.

  2. Beautiful! I felt like you were knitting a blanket while you wrote this??? Not sure why, but I got a sense of soft creation and specific purpose in the piece. Just NICE!

  3. I took that photo of Kili when was home (Arusha:I am Kenyan/Tanzanian BTW) in June this year. My cousins and I reminisced back to the 70s and 80s when Kili was completely snow-capped; when we'd wake up at Babu and Bibi's (grandpa and grandma's) in the village of Marangu, to a full frontal of snowy Kibo.

    It is just devastating that folks cannot accept that global warming is REAL.

    Denene: I think you may have planted a seed in that old man's head.

    Akilah? and Denene: I'm going to to wrap myself up on your warm words of appreciation.

    Asante sana sana!

  4. That was a beautiful poem with an important message.

    Ninapenda shairi yako sana!

    I hope that we "get it" before its too late.

    Also, I took a look at my site feed and replaced it with another. Please let me know, unanifuata sasa je? (am I suppose to put "je" everytime I ask a question that doesn't end with who/what/where?)

  5. I am amazed by people like you who can write beautiful poems like that. Absolutely wonderful!

  6. I have a couple of friends who visited Kilimanjaro two years ago. They wanted to see it before the snow disappears forever. Scientists have known this was happening for a long time but no one would listen. Tragic.

    Thank you, Mama. It is important to pay tribute to Kilimanjaro so that it will not be forgotten.

  7. I felt this poem coursing through my veins. It's so powerful! Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  8. Powerful! Environmental degradation (both directly man-made like toxic waste or indirectly, like global warming) is something that Africa, as a continent, needs to take very seriously.

  9. I must have been camping in the Northwoods when you posted this moving poem. I love your imagery and your message. I can't imagine a bare topped Kilimanjaro. What we are doing to our planet is criminal.


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