Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joy, and a Bag of Rice
Little Kenyan nomad,
running home through the fields,
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.