Resources for Loss

“Grass Will Grow” by Jonathan Kariara, contributed by Joshua Ochieng (2023)

Grass Will Grow 

If you should take my child Lord
Give my hands strength to dig his grave
cover him with earth
Lord send a little rain
For grass will grow

If my house should burn down
So that the ashes sting the nostrils
Making the eyes weep
Then Lord send a little rain
For grass will grow

But Lord do not send me
I ask for tears
Do not send me moon hard madness
To lodge snug in my skull
I would you sent me hordes of horses
But do not break
The yolk of the moon on me.

The poem “Grass Will Grow” was written by the Kenyan poet, Jonathan Kariara, and was published in a collection of postcolonial poems in 1971. The poem, very solemn and sad, is also comforting. It acknowledges the inevitability of loss, evident in the narrator’s prayer not for the avoidance of loss, but for grace and clarity of mind to deal with it. The poem evokes a “getting used to” loss — a resignation of sorts. The narrator perhaps has prayed, many times already, that they be excused of loss, but these prayers have not been answered and now they pray for the next best thing — the ability to survive the loss. Remarkably, the narrator remains very hopeful and resilient, certain that, with a little rain, grass will grow.


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