Oslo my city of refuge

Philo Ikonya

If you had not given me refuge,
I would have found it impossible,
To start again with confidence,
Like a spider, pulling its own thread,
to make a web, spinning its castle,
No matter how delicate.

I had lost the illusion you see,
and the most difficult thing,
is to re- start, that part in your soul
that believes it can.
That part they try to kill,
but will never succeed.

I know there is no haven of peace,
Dar es salaam* too had a bomb,
Nairobi’s snapped life in me
No one knows all the secrets of a womb,
I know the world is restless,
but your caress has kept me,
dressed in my robe of sanity.

It has kept my soul alive to me,
so that it can feel another's pain.
It has kept me alive to all,
so that I can celebrate a New Year.
1.1. 2011.


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