Some Poems

Lament for a blackened shore

waves 2 © 2011 Vincent Oyenga 

Black gold brings black death
To wild shores' bristling life
Life in flight, in deep deep water
Life in rock and weed and green
In wing, in scale, in chalky crust
In grains of sand and salty waves

Anguish in your young ones' eyes
The broken oily wings
Their flight's infinity ended
Poison in the ocean's depth
Death rising from within the blue
The waters hold so many graves 

We say woe to us, for what we do

Life drains from you for pleasure
Misplaced from our hearts
On the shroud covered shore
Your breath rises faintly

We say woe to us, for we are you

We watch your death
Buried in black gold
On the shores of our lives
Silent screams rise

We say
Woe to what we have forgotten
We say woe to us
And to you

© 2010 Daniela Othieno


They said the first cracks
appeared around noon
on Tuesday.

It was only a hairline facture
at first.

Some people said
nothing more would follow.
It couldn't possibly. 

By evening that day
the cracks were deeper.
There were rough edges.

Some brave souls went and looked. 
They ran their fingers along
the sharp serrated cuts.

It will close again others said.
It's just a blip. 

She lives on the other side of town
by the railway lines.

She seemed normal.

Until that day the crack appeared
and a tree started growing
right out of the middle of her soul.

2009 Daniela Othieno

The House on the side of the hill 

A house clings to the side of the hill
The windows like eyes 
gaze out across the car park
over the grey streets below
Out to the sea
that covers the horizon
in a puddle of molten lead

I walk up the hill and the stairs
Through the iron gate
up the short garden path
The house looms above
its skin of black tiles shining
Out of place
it says  - I'm expecting you 

Inside there are no colours
Mexican crystal skulls and
Egyptian artefacts
Faded carpets, poetry books
and Japanese movies
An air of violence accepted
Dark corners begging for attention

I can see through its window eyes
to the lead black sea
as if inside the mind of the house
And its soul, like an abandoned ghost
playful, teasing and cruel
not knowing any other way
tries to keep me there

I feel it longing to be cared for
and filled with living things
With a warm fire it reaches for me
as I turn to leave - and yet
it cannot hide the stony hill's embrace
Stay, it coos with a child's voice
Cold, pretty and dead

My hand wavers as I reach for the door
Not me, I say

And then I leave

2008 Daniela  Othieno

The Empress makes new clothes

On a throne of bones she resided
as shards of glass fell to the floor
from blind window panes
Broken voices in the room next door

Reminders of the inside places
where tiny channels of dream
and whispers and salty traces
are still alive

Where now she listens to the song
and the dreaming of the ones
who walked before her

Wait, she says
as in the corner a shroud is tearing
and asks with unbelieving eyes
Is this where we stop the running
and lift the shadows off our lies

Where we line up instead 
days like pearls upon a thread
and from the ragged stories
craft a bold 
and precious cloth

2008 Daniela Othieno