Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Give me a pen

Enlarge poem

Give me a pen and I shall write.
About my country’s poverty and the poor man’s plight.
The politician who always promises to make things right.
The farmer who cant feed his family due to manufactured blight…

Give me a pen and then.
I shall tell you about Chemuren.
Got married when she was barely ten.
Just so her father could afford to build a pen.
Big enough to hold his family plus the lone goat and hen….

Give me a pen and I shall make you my reader.
Tell you tales of pain and over ambitious leaders.
Men talking of women as if they are just bleeders.
Politicians who talk listen but none are heeders…

Give me a pen and I shall draw your attention.
To the stuff the priest did that we dare not mention.
The way the pastor spoke of Christ and his strife.
And used the promise of healing to impregnate my wife!…

Give me a pen and I shall bleed.
Of the joblessness as she says she is carrying my seed.
Barely able to meet my own need.
Now thinking of an extra mouth to feed…

Give me a pen and let me write my past.
For I have seen and done things vast.
Made marks in society but none seems to last.
Competing in the human race yet constantly coming in last!…

Give me a pen and let me shape my dream.
Of bank accounts plenty and cups full to the brim.
Enough for me and she and maybe him.
Still enough left to uplift any other without a whim…

Give me a pen…

Jemedari

Featured Poem:

Letter to the president

Enlarge poem

Verse 1
Jina kamili wananiita Jemedari
Msanii wa kufoka nikitumia mistari
Mkaazi wa jiji, mzalendo toka tangu
Nina barua kwako, Rais. Mawazo yangu
Nianze kwa kuzusha au nianze kwa shukrani
Nikunje sura au nianze kwa utani
Nije kwa kwa kukashifu au ntoe samahani
Mi mabonga na aliye kwa usukani
Kuna mambo flani ndani nahisi kama huoni
Ama labda waona lakini wasikia soni
Thoughts za mamilioni kutoka ndani moyoni
Naja kwa zangu kasi na sipigi hata honi
Najua utasema kuna watu wanaohusika
Na mambo mengi kichwani yanakushika
Sima uwezo mimi kule bungeni kufika so
Naomba tu ukaribie speaker

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

Verse 2
Wangapi daily waanagushwa na risasi za polisi
Bila hatia, hakuna kitu wanahisi
Wangapi ni ma IDP hawana kwao
Bado twaimba ati haki iwe ngao?
Upuzi kusema “kura yangu ni sauti”
Kusimama kusema “kwa bendera nasaluti”
Maliza boot indo ninunue kabuti
Nisichafuke nikipitwa na Prado na suti
Nilisoma kusoma, nipite nipate kazi
Nipige mchanga, nichange za kukomboa wazazi.
Nile kula kushiba, ‘kibaki iwe ni akiba
Hepa miba, nikirudi mchangani iwe ni msiba
Vile nacheki mwananchi ndo huumia.
Pata hamsini maisha inataka mia
Kazi si kazi, kuishi ni kazi pia
Daktari walishagoma huna hope ukizimia!!!

Verse 3
Forget the president, this is for all leaders
Forget the writer, this is for all readers
Forget the speaker, this is for all heeders
Am talking to the living souls of all bleeders
Forget rapping, assume am just talking
Forget about talking the talk and start walking
Forget the facebook updates and twitter mentions
Walk up to your local leader and ask (ask)
-Show me where the road is, tell me where’s the water?
Show me the land, where are you taking the squatters?
Show me the school? Where are you building the quarters?
Show me the jobs you promised sons and daughters
Realize, Change is my mission
Realize, my vote is my decision
Realize, my living is my heaven
And am a Kenyan, 24-7…

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

Translations

Verse 1

I go by the name Jemedari
An artiste who speaks using rhyme and lines
Citizen of the city and an old time patriot
I have questions for you, Mr President, from my thoughts
Do I start with seriousness or start with the fun?
Should I complain or say it as a joke?
Should I shout or speak on low tones?
I am talking to he who is in leadership
There are one or two things I feel like you do not see
Or maybe you do but you shy away
Thoughts of a million people from the heart
I come to you fast paced, without any warning
I know you will send me to those who are concerned
As you are busy, too much on your mind
I have no ability to walk into State House
So Mr. President, move closer to your speaker

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

Verse 2
How many die by police bullets on the daily?
Innocently, its like the cops have no feelings
How many are IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and are homeless?
And yet we sing “justice be our shield and defender”
Its stupid to even say “my vote is my voice”
To stand up and say “I salute the flag”
I wear out my boot saving to buy a coat to protect me
From the dust as a politician passes in his Prado and suit
I went to school to learn, pas exams and get a job, then work to elevate my family and society
That I may have some and save some, fly in success and only touch the ground in my death
But as I see it, the citizen is always in pain
As you struggle to make 50, life demands 100
Work is not really work, staying alive is the job
And the doctors are on strike so there is no hope if you dare pass out!!

Verse 3
Forget the president, this is for all leaders
Forget the writer, this is for all readers
Forget the speaker, this is for all heeders
Am talking to the living souls of all bleeders
Forget rapping, assume am just talking
Forget about talking the talk and start walking
Forget the facebook updates and twitter mentions
Walk up to your local leader and ask (ask)
-Show me where the road is, tell me where’s the water?
Show me the land, where are you taking the squatters?
Show me the school? Where are you building the quarters?
Show me the jobs you promised sons and daughters
Realize, Change is my mission
Realize, my vote is my decision
Realize, my living is my heaven
And am a Kenyan, 24-7…

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

Joseph Wambua Jemedari

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (3)
  • Reflection (2)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. I’m loving “Give Me A Pen”. The tone, theme and type of rhyme reminds me of Gil Scott-Heron’s “Paint it Black”.
    Eh bwana, safi sana!

    Dani Swai

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Growing in the towns of Mombasa, Nakuru and Nairobi City, Jemedari is a spoken word poet and Hip Hop artiste. Having involved himself in poetry from school level competitions, his style is a gritty mix of English and coastal Swahili. His focus on topics is mainly politics and social justice, with the occasional dabbling in matters of the heart.

Jemedari

Joseph Wambua Jemedari
Joseph Wambua Jemedari

Biography

Growing in the towns of Mombasa, Nakuru and Nairobi City, Jemedari is a spoken word poet and Hip Hop artiste. Having involved himself in poetry from school level competitions, his style is a gritty mix of English and coastal Swahili. His focus on topics is mainly politics and social justice, with the occasional dabbling in matters of the heart.

Give me a pen

Enlarge poem

Give me a pen and I shall write.
About my country’s poverty and the poor man’s plight.
The politician who always promises to make things right.
The farmer who cant feed his family due to manufactured blight…

Give me a pen and then.
I shall tell you about Chemuren.
Got married when she was barely ten.
Just so her father could afford to build a pen.
Big enough to hold his family plus the lone goat and hen….

Give me a pen and I shall make you my reader.
Tell you tales of pain and over ambitious leaders.
Men talking of women as if they are just bleeders.
Politicians who talk listen but none are heeders…

Give me a pen and I shall draw your attention.
To the stuff the priest did that we dare not mention.
The way the pastor spoke of Christ and his strife.
And used the promise of healing to impregnate my wife!…

Give me a pen and I shall bleed.
Of the joblessness as she says she is carrying my seed.
Barely able to meet my own need.
Now thinking of an extra mouth to feed…

Give me a pen and let me write my past.
For I have seen and done things vast.
Made marks in society but none seems to last.
Competing in the human race yet constantly coming in last!…

Give me a pen and let me shape my dream.
Of bank accounts plenty and cups full to the brim.
Enough for me and she and maybe him.
Still enough left to uplift any other without a whim…

Give me a pen…

Featured Poem:

Letter to the president

Enlarge poem

Verse 1
Jina kamili wananiita Jemedari
Msanii wa kufoka nikitumia mistari
Mkaazi wa jiji, mzalendo toka tangu
Nina barua kwako, Rais. Mawazo yangu
Nianze kwa kuzusha au nianze kwa shukrani
Nikunje sura au nianze kwa utani
Nije kwa kwa kukashifu au ntoe samahani
Mi mabonga na aliye kwa usukani
Kuna mambo flani ndani nahisi kama huoni
Ama labda waona lakini wasikia soni
Thoughts za mamilioni kutoka ndani moyoni
Naja kwa zangu kasi na sipigi hata honi
Najua utasema kuna watu wanaohusika
Na mambo mengi kichwani yanakushika
Sima uwezo mimi kule bungeni kufika so
Naomba tu ukaribie speaker

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

Verse 2
Wangapi daily waanagushwa na risasi za polisi
Bila hatia, hakuna kitu wanahisi
Wangapi ni ma IDP hawana kwao
Bado twaimba ati haki iwe ngao?
Upuzi kusema “kura yangu ni sauti”
Kusimama kusema “kwa bendera nasaluti”
Maliza boot indo ninunue kabuti
Nisichafuke nikipitwa na Prado na suti
Nilisoma kusoma, nipite nipate kazi
Nipige mchanga, nichange za kukomboa wazazi.
Nile kula kushiba, ‘kibaki iwe ni akiba
Hepa miba, nikirudi mchangani iwe ni msiba
Vile nacheki mwananchi ndo huumia.
Pata hamsini maisha inataka mia
Kazi si kazi, kuishi ni kazi pia
Daktari walishagoma huna hope ukizimia!!!

Verse 3
Forget the president, this is for all leaders
Forget the writer, this is for all readers
Forget the speaker, this is for all heeders
Am talking to the living souls of all bleeders
Forget rapping, assume am just talking
Forget about talking the talk and start walking
Forget the facebook updates and twitter mentions
Walk up to your local leader and ask (ask)
-Show me where the road is, tell me where’s the water?
Show me the land, where are you taking the squatters?
Show me the school? Where are you building the quarters?
Show me the jobs you promised sons and daughters
Realize, Change is my mission
Realize, my vote is my decision
Realize, my living is my heaven
And am a Kenyan, 24-7…

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

Translations

Verse 1

I go by the name Jemedari
An artiste who speaks using rhyme and lines
Citizen of the city and an old time patriot
I have questions for you, Mr President, from my thoughts
Do I start with seriousness or start with the fun?
Should I complain or say it as a joke?
Should I shout or speak on low tones?
I am talking to he who is in leadership
There are one or two things I feel like you do not see
Or maybe you do but you shy away
Thoughts of a million people from the heart
I come to you fast paced, without any warning
I know you will send me to those who are concerned
As you are busy, too much on your mind
I have no ability to walk into State House
So Mr. President, move closer to your speaker

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

Verse 2
How many die by police bullets on the daily?
Innocently, its like the cops have no feelings
How many are IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and are homeless?
And yet we sing “justice be our shield and defender”
Its stupid to even say “my vote is my voice”
To stand up and say “I salute the flag”
I wear out my boot saving to buy a coat to protect me
From the dust as a politician passes in his Prado and suit
I went to school to learn, pas exams and get a job, then work to elevate my family and society
That I may have some and save some, fly in success and only touch the ground in my death
But as I see it, the citizen is always in pain
As you struggle to make 50, life demands 100
Work is not really work, staying alive is the job
And the doctors are on strike so there is no hope if you dare pass out!!

Verse 3
Forget the president, this is for all leaders
Forget the writer, this is for all readers
Forget the speaker, this is for all heeders
Am talking to the living souls of all bleeders
Forget rapping, assume am just talking
Forget about talking the talk and start walking
Forget the facebook updates and twitter mentions
Walk up to your local leader and ask (ask)
-Show me where the road is, tell me where’s the water?
Show me the land, where are you taking the squatters?
Show me the school? Where are you building the quarters?
Show me the jobs you promised sons and daughters
Realize, Change is my mission
Realize, my vote is my decision
Realize, my living is my heaven
And am a Kenyan, 24-7…

Chime
Police killings, Murders and Drug Dealings
IDPs living in rooms with no ceilings
MPs rolling in Millis with no feelings
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)
Teachers, Doctors striking for more pay
And money gets wasted everyday
And these things happen as you get your way
(Excuse me. Am talking to you, Mr. President)

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (3)
  • Reflection (2)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Give me a pen

Enlarge poem

Give me a pen and I shall write.
About my country’s poverty and the poor man’s plight.
The politician who always promises to make things right.
The farmer who cant feed his family due to manufactured blight…

Give me a pen and then.
I shall tell you about Chemuren.
Got married when she was barely ten.
Just so her father could afford to build a pen.
Big enough to hold his family plus the lone goat and hen….

Give me a pen and I shall make you my reader.
Tell you tales of pain and over ambitious leaders.
Men talking of women as if they are just bleeders.
Politicians who talk listen but none are heeders…

Give me a pen and I shall draw your attention.
To the stuff the priest did that we dare not mention.
The way the pastor spoke of Christ and his strife.
And used the promise of healing to impregnate my wife!…

Give me a pen and I shall bleed.
Of the joblessness as she says she is carrying my seed.
Barely able to meet my own need.
Now thinking of an extra mouth to feed…

Give me a pen and let me write my past.
For I have seen and done things vast.
Made marks in society but none seems to last.
Competing in the human race yet constantly coming in last!…

Give me a pen and let me shape my dream.
Of bank accounts plenty and cups full to the brim.
Enough for me and she and maybe him.
Still enough left to uplift any other without a whim…

Give me a pen…

Comments

  1. I’m loving “Give Me A Pen”. The tone, theme and type of rhyme reminds me of Gil Scott-Heron’s “Paint it Black”.
    Eh bwana, safi sana!

    Dani Swai

Your email address will not be published.