Thursday, February 25, 2010


(Dedicated to all those that put their weapons down during the Post-election Violence...were humane enough to spare a life)

By Stephen Derwent Partington

" We praise the man who,
though he held the match between
his finger and his thumb,
beheld the terror of its tiny drop of phosphorous,
its brown and globoid smoothness
like a charred and tiny skull
and so returned it to its box.

So too, we hail the youth who,
though he took his panga on the march,
perceived it odd within his fist
when there was neither scrub
nor firewood to be felled,
so laid it down.

An acclamation for the man who,
though he saw the woman running, clothing torn,
and though he lusted,
saw his mother in her youth,
restrained his colleagues
and withdrew.

We pay our homage to the man who,
though his heart was like a stone
and though he took a stone to cast,
could feel its hardness in the softness of his palm
and grasped the brittleness of bone,
so let it drop.

We laud the man who,
though he snatched to scrutinize
the passenger’s I.D.,
saw not the name – instead, the face –
and slid it back
as any friend might slide his hand to shake a friend’s.

And to the rest of us,
a blessing:
may you never have to be that man,
but if you have to,

Stephen Derwent Partington is a teacher and writer based near Machakos. He has previously published a poetry collection, SMS & Face to Face, in Kenya. His poetry and academic prose has appeared in various respectable publications, and he is at present a contributing member of the group, Concerned Kenyan Writers for Justice.


  1. pleae acknowledge Stephen Derwent Partington as author of this poem

  2. Yes please acknowledge Stephen Derwent Partington as the author of this poem. It is already published in his book. Otherwise this is plagarism. Sitawa Namwalie

  3. This poem belongs to Stephen Derwent Partington, it's published in Kwani 5, and in his own book. You must acknowledge him. It would be in very poor taste not to.

  4. Eunice, I like what you've set out to do with your blog. However, you must credit Stephen Derwent Partington as the author of this poem. Failure to credit folk for their work seriously undermines the credibility of your blog. Peace!

  5. Hi Eunice,
    Great blog! And I have always loved this poem, which Stephen Partington has been very generous about letting others use. It has such love for Kenya written into it and is so beautiful few people can resist it. I think he would be happy to have it up here on your blog, if you just edit it to give him due credit. He's a very nice man. Peace.

    1. Hey WM, I admire Stephen Derwent Partington works...and I have acknowledged him in the poem :)

  6. Hi Eunice,

    Isn't this poem by Stephen Partington?

  7. Hello guys,
    for some reason...I am seeing your comments today...Yes the poem is by Stephen Derwent Partington, dully acknowledged.



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