The power of poetry

The power of poetry

  July 11, 2016 1:47 pm

Poetry has a unique power to transcend across generations. It has the ability to speak to readers intimately, giving them deep insight into a writer’s ideas – what they fear or what they hate or love. Benson Kanyi Wairimu, a young man from Kenya, uses his passion and skill of poetry and other art as a powerful tool in bridging communication gaps between the community and HIV positive young people.

“I use poetry as a way to share important messages onto my fellow young people, religious leaders and the community at large,” says Benson. “When I write a poem, people want to listen. It allows us to share from our perspective what it’s like to be a young person.”

Below, is a poem he has written on the interaction between a young boy and his mother.



Written by: Benson Kanyi Wairimu

Hallo Mama! I need to talk to you. Can you spare some time and listen to me?

Of course my son, have a sit. 

Thank you. Mama…I would really love to know the difference between a boy and a man. I understand I am a boy and with time I will grow into a man. Please clarify for me what makes a man because I have to many questions that really need deep explanations.

So Mama, does being muscular make you a man? And if it is so, is Mike a man then? He is old and muscular but he rarely uses common sense to solve his issues.

Is it being cut? If it is so, then I am a man because I have cut myself several times as I sharpen my pencil but you still call me a boy.  May I ask why? I have a friend back at school and he went through surgical operations. Mind you, we are of the same age but we are still addressed as boys. Why?

What about those that go through circumcision? Does that qualify as becoming a man? There are cultures that don’t allow circumcision at all and you still find men who have families. How can you explain that?

Mama, is a man all about having beards? If it is so then goats would make the best men because they have beautiful beards.

Mama, does size matter?

Son, you are quite interesting. What made you think so? On a serious note, you have to understand that everyone will grow old but not everyone will grow up. Being a man is a matter of decision, choosing what’s right, respecting others, standing alone, being responsible – growing up. 

Mama, since you told me that it takes a man and a woman to have a baby, where is the man responsible for me? I am sure it all would be different if he was around. Whom do I look up to? The person to call father isn’t around. From my assumption he wasn’t ready for

the responsibilities.

In our society I hardly see any good role models. The so called ‘men’ who are the same age as my father are competing for the same girls that I hang out with.

Mama, bravo. You alone are man enough to groom me to be a responsible man to the society. A child whether a male or a female is fragile as much as they are young. Let us shape our children and mould our men to independent rather than dependent.

Let’s teach our boys the importance of folding their sleeves up and working. We will have men rather than big boys with a notion that they are men.


2 responses to “The power of poetry”

  1. makosa says:

    it is a lovely piece that is informative and educative

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