Poem: Gĩthakainĩ (In the Forest) by Rehema Njoki Kibugi

(scroll down for the English translation)

Mbeere, ndambire ngĩona kĩbũbũĩ kĩnene
Ngĩcooka ngĩona kaana kayo
Ngĩcooka ngĩona ngarĩ
Hiti igĩtumĩrĩa mĩtheko

No mathugumo ndonire maaraha
na kayũ gakwa koigĩte mbu nene
magũrũ hingo ĩyo, mathiĩte ta nyaga hĩre

Niĩ ndeĩraga atĩ ndĩmwedi gũceera gĩthakainĩ
o nginya mũthenya ũrĩa ndathire mũtitũ
ngĩonio kanyoni wa ng’ethe

Translation: In the Forest

First, I saw a behemothic black widow
then I saw his baby
then I saw a leopard
the hyena covered its mouth to stop laughing

What I saw next was a pool of my pee
as my mouth screamed out loud
my feet then leapt fast – an ostrich

I had always believed that an outdoor lover
until the day I want into the forest
and it welcomed me with open arms

Gĩthakainĩ (In the Forest) recited in the video above by my niece Rehema Njoki Kibugi is part of a collection of 10 poems that I wrote themed around Indigenous people, culture, life, love, nature, and the advocacy for indigenous languages against cultural imperialism commissioned by The Joint Board of South and North Korea for the Compilation of Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon for the 2nd International Academic Forum on Sustainable Development of Indigenous Languages. The virtual event took place on November 25th & 26th 2021( Watch  the event here)

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