Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Joy, and a Bag of Rice

Little Kenyan nomad, 
running home through the fields, 
so happy.
It is Christmas, and on Christmas,
that one special day of the year, 
his mother always makes rice.
He bursts in the door.
His mother is cooking vegetables,
as on any other day.
He starts to cry.
"Mama, where is the rice?"

His mother's heart must cry, too,
but outwardly she is calm, serene.
"My son, you know this year
your father has died, 
and so this Christmas there is no rice.
But we are together, 
and we have vegetables, 
and each other."

"Mama, when I grow big, 
I will buy you a whole sack of rice."

"Thank you, my son. I know you will.
With a son such as you, I am already 
a very rich woman."

That little boy studied hard, so hard,
he shone so brightly, 
he was sponsored to go to college.
He struggled long to persevere, 
without money, but without giving up.
Across the miles, I asked him,
"How do you stay motivated to work so hard? 
In my country, kids who have every opportunity,
often have no motivation at all."

He replied, "Escaping Poverty is my motivation. 
There is no other way, and my family has lived 
in the shadows for so long.
I dream big dreams, Koko."

And now it is Christmas once again. 
This year he has the job of his dreams,
where he will make the world a better place.
His light shines so brightly,
his superiors have their eyes on him.
They know this young man
will do big things,
yet keep a humble heart.

This time he goes home carrying 
new shoes for his younger siblings,
a dress for his mama, and a whole sack of rice.
The ululations and tears and celebrating 
will go on for  a long time.
"My siblings' eyes are shining, Koko.
My mother and I were laughing about 
the time I cried because there was no rice."

This year the sun shines brightly.
Younger siblings are in school.
Elder Brother and Younger Brother 
are now working.
Life has finally, after so many years,
begun to ease.

This year, there is rice.
But every Christmas,
there has always been

for the prompt at Poetry Jam: to write a poem that shares joy. This is a true story or, rather, part of an on-going story that it has been my privilege to watch unfold since 2010.


  1. Such a positive & inspiring & feel-good poem :)
    Hope everyone has great jobs & food to eat.
    May all have joy always!

    Thanks for the nice words you shared on my Blog!

    Best wishes for you & your family!
    Merry Christmas!
    LOL = Lots of Love! :)

  2. What a wonderful story! This is definitely filled with joy! Thank you for sharing this and have a joyful season yourself!

  3. I *love* this, Sherry. You shine this joy so brightly. Thank you ~

  4. Truly touching story in poetic attire :) I like how it lends to the theme of joy by hinting at selflessness.

  5. Rice or no rice it was always a wonderful Christmas. What more when there is rice! What a wonderful feeling. Great lines Sherry!


  6. This is beautiful, Sherry. It shows once again that GIVING is the best GIFT of all; and in the giving one can find so much joy! Thank you for being you, Sherry.

  7. luv this poetic tale, its touching, heartfelt and hopeful, and truly radiate Christmas joy

    have a nice Wednesday

    much love...

  8. Christmas makes us remember the joy

  9. What a lovely story of hard work and dedication to overcome a life of adversity.

  10. This is a great story, Sherry. It is nice to see that he has grown into such a fine and grateful young man. You must be proud you know him.

  11. I am very moved by this story ~ Such a good son to remember his family and help them out of poverty ~ Rice or not, there is always joy when love abounds ~

  12. The joy of giving is in the tradition of the Christmas spirit. Merry Christmas !

  13. The joy, the happiness, that's what counts, doesn't it

  14. i am glad for those like him who will strive to rise above...to give back...to make a difference because they have been there...i got me some joy

  15. The joy is Christmas and the hope of life captured in your words

  16. A lovely Christmas story, Sherry. A unique contribution on this most blessed season!

  17. Sherry,

    The true meaning of family togetherness and spirit, through whatever tough times may impact..The joy that exists, in spite of the hardships endured...This was a most moving poem Sherrry..Real in its situation, which must be there in many corners of the globe today.
    Best wishes to you,
    Sorry I'm late to visit...


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