You dragged me Through the gates of pain To song, Love from my heart Spilling over; Reason, like Lucifer’s sin, Burst away and fled. Now the freer motion Over the fertile ground Will reign.
“Release” by Joseph Kariuki is from Poems from East Africa, ed. David Cook and David Rubadiri (Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1971). Used by permission of the publisher.
Joseph E. Kariuki was born in 1931 in Banana Hill, Kenya. After receiving a BA from Makerere College in Uganda and further education at Cambridge University in England, he pursued a career in public administration, working with United Nations organizations in East and North Africa. He also wrote poetry, though less so after his appointment as director-general of the African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD) in 1969. His most famous poem is “Ode for Mzee” (1965), written to commemorate Jomo Kenyatta on the occasion of his becoming president of Kenya.