Jerad Angira: No Coffin no Grave

Today is World Poetry Day! 

To mark this occasion, I would be sharing some of my favourite poems. Poems from the past!

First stop, make welcome a classic by the legendary Jerad Angira from Kenya titled No coffin No Grave. 

The poem shames the flamboyance of corrupt politicians, who live off the sweat of the masses. Enjoy!


He was buried without a coffin

without a grave

the scavengers performed the post-mortem

in the open mortuary

without sterilized knives

in front of the night club

stuttering rifles put up

the gun salute of the day

that was a state burial anyway

the car knelt 

the red plate wept, wrapped itself in blood its master’s

the diary revealed to the sea

the rain anchored there at last

isn’t our flag red, black, and white?

so he wrapped himself well

who could signal yellow

when we had to leave politics to the experts

and brood on books

brood on hunger

and schoolgirls

grumble under the black pot

sleep under torn mosquito net

and let lice lick our intestines

the lord of the bar, money speaks madam

woman magnet, money speaks madam

we only cover the stinking darkness

of the cave of our mouths

and ask our father who is in hell to judge him

the quick and the good

Well, his dairy, submarine of the Third World War

showed he wished

to be buried in a gold-laden coffin

like a VIP

under the jacaranda tree beside his palace

a shelter for his grave

and much beer for the funeral party

anyway one noisy pupil suggested we bring

tractors and plough the land.

Legendary Jerad Angira


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