Celebrating East African Writing!

Where did the beauty go to? by Quentin Jodera


As a little boy life was sweet

Playing hide and seek in the woods

Chasing butterflies in the open grassland

Swimming in the river Nyando

Life was sweet and innocent


I remember the fishing trips with my father

The boat rides and the canoes

Paddling in the clean waters of River Nyando

Filled with fish of every kind of fish

That was nature in its finest form

Advertising for everyone to see


The air was clean and fresh

And the trees were always green

Sunshine was plenty with reckless abandon

There was just enough of it though

The skies at the end of each day

Were filled with pure white clouds of blessing


On some days however

The western sky, over the towering Nandi hills

Would be filled with heavily pregnant clouds

Just waiting for the go ahead

To open their flood gates

And give fresh water to the hungry earth below


There’d be all kinds of fruits on the trees

Apples, pears, peaches, and paw paws

Crops would do well for the farmers

You’d see all kinds of vegetables in the garden

Kales, peas, tomatoes, cabbages

And the list goes endlessly on


But that was long ago

The picture today has changed tremendously

It’s like living in a strange planet

The beauty that was then, is long gone

And there are very few butterflies left to chase

In the open grasslands


Not only did the fishing trips die

But first to go was the river and its fish

Then the clean air turned poisonous

Because of the smoke from industries

Then the sun became hot as a goldsmith’s furnace


The tall and beautiful trees

Were all burnt into charcoal or turned to firewood

The lush green open savannah

Became bare soil, filled with galleys and rocks

No more fresh grass for the cows

Only shrubs and bushes


The sky gods have refused to open the flood gates

Because of lack of trees to offer moisture

As a pleasing sacrifice for their graciousness

And when they do open them

Then disastrous floods are the outcome

Taking everything with the torrents that follow


No more fruit trees

Rarely do I see fresh harvests

And no more celebrations by the farmers

The children are seemingly thin like tooth picks

Their stomachs protruding with malnourishment

Coz there isn’t enough food for them


Strangely though

I see many towns expanding

The rich acquire more land

And instead of planting trees on them

There are only more buildings

More factories to produce more unclean smoke


Where did all the beauty of Mother Nature

All its splendour and sweetness

Where did it all go to?

I know I’m not wrong when I say

It died coz of our irresponsible greed to prosper

Necessitated by the ever increasing human population


© Quentin Jodera



This poem is part of the January 31st 2011 Free Theme & Style Poetry Competition. You have until February 26th 2011 to read and vote for it. Please comment and indicate your opinion of the poem on a scale of 1 to 5.

1 – Very weak

2 – Poor

3 – Ok

4 – Good

5 – Amazing!


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