My pencil is my canoe

Philo Ikonya

You ask me why my canoe is so narrow
And why my oar of a revolution is
Shaped like a bat and long like a story.
I remind you i made it from a little pencil
And the oars from the parts that remained,
after you burned my house in flames.

It takes me far. It takes me far. It takes me..
I row, I row, I row, I row,
row, row , row , row and bat. Here it is:
My boat of abc?deÑ@?fghij??!*?
æ&£öð®?¿???!kal and finally å and ø©
The seas of alpha bets are many
but they are one in deep meaning, free.

I will be back in a tiny pencil canoe
I know I will, with a song so long for an oar,
and a roar that hoars till the rain falls.
I will be back with wider blocks
A Push kin movement smiling and still raving
back in search of the free word, hurrah!
No group, no border, no familiar threats
no class can hold me.
No, river.
No tribu tary,
Unstoppable I am.
Hurrah again!
You will be heard saying hipp! hipp!
and us, Hurrah! Hurrah, hurrah, hurraaaa!

Oslo, 2011

Orange dawn

philo Ikonya's picture

Philo Ikonya is a prolific poet and novelist. She has been described as poet who claims history and creates futures passionately. Philo was first a school teacher and later taught Semiotics in Tangaza College and Spanish at the United States International University, (USIU) in Nairobi Kenya., Between 2007 and 2009, Philo Ikonya, PEN Kenya president, was arrested brutally several times for speaking out against corruption and the foiling of freedom of expression in her country. Born in Kenya, Philo lives in Oslo in exile from 2009. She is respected by the people for being vocal and loved, but resisted by those for whom the bitterness of truth is too personal. Within the context of power, human rights and freedom of expression, Philo is in her element. She has been described by poet Shailja Patel as “Rejecting silence and refusing simplification as she battles corruption”. “This author describes what she is heavily involved in, and she manages to portray it so that it concerns us all.” Per Ole Kallestad, Norwegian poet., Philo Ikonya is the author of two novels: Kenya, will you marry me? Langaa, Cameroon, 2011, and Leading the Night, Twaweza Publications, Kenya, 2010. She authored poems translated into German and published in a bilingual edition titled Out of Prison: Love Songs (Aus dem Gefangnis Liebesgesange) published by Loecker Austria, 2010 and This Bread of Peace (Lapwing, Belfast) 2010. She has written three young readers books: We met a Grasshopper and Other Poems, The Lost Gazelle (By East African Educational Publishers) and The Kenyan boy who became President of America translated into Norwegian, Med røtter fra Kenya I det hvite hus published by Libretto, Oslo.

Last updated July 14, 2015