Aisling Cassandra, 34, is a wife, a mother of two--Ella and Micere, a banker and a poet. In 2016, she published her first collection of 81 poems in a book titled Journeys of Life: reflections of a pilgrim. The poems are an expression of her journey through life. She spoke to Karen Muriuki :
Why is poetry important to you?
I feel good whenever I write; I find it therapeutic. Poetry is my way of showing gratitude to those around me and also encouraging those who need to have their spirits lifted.
When did you start showing interest in written poetry?
My writing journey began back in 2003 while I was still in high school. I wrote prose and developed a manuscript for a romance novel. However, I never got it published.
A few years later, I went through a very painful ordeal and in the search of healing, I wrote a poem. That was the beginning of my poetry journey.
How would you describe your poetry?
Spiritual, real and funny. As a Christian, I love to describe my walk with Christ through poems. It is my way of fulfilling our great commission to spread the good news as well as reach out to those who have lost hope.
What inspires you to write?
Everything around me. For example, when I wake up in the morning and breathe in the fresh air, I am reminded that there is someone greater than me, despite life with its up and downs.
I once wrote a piece on that. I also write my poems spontaneously, in that moment of inspiration. Most of my poems are written on my phone which I carry everywhere with me.
How do you choose the form of your poems?
I never do. (Laughs). I write whatever comes naturally.
Are there any forms you would like to try that you haven’t?
Sonnets, but I think they are very hard for me. This is perhaps because I do not like being limited to a specific form of writing. Writing in prose comes naturally for me.
On that note, do you read poetry written by others?
Of course. As a writer, you need to constantly read; to feed your creativity. John Keats and Shakespeare are my favourite authors.
What conditions help you with your writing process?
I’m good to write as long as I have inspiration, a paper, a pen or my phone.
What’s the relationship between your speaking and written voice?
None at all. They are completely different. I write whatever I’m shy to say in person. A case in example is my love poetry. I am freer expressing emotions such love through writing poetry than saying it out loud.
Do you face any challenges as a poet?
Yes, of course. For example, many people find it difficult to understand the metaphors I use in my writing. That’s the thing with poets- we love writing while hiding our meanings.
Whenever I post a poem on any of my social media platforms, I only get likes instead of reviews or comments- not unless I have directed it to someone specifically.
Do you plan on publishing another book?
Definitely. It will be out by mid next year.
Where do you see your poetry in five years?
I would love to do spoken word, but this means working on my confidence. Many people prefer listening to poetry than reading it.
I would also love to write for others, for weddings for example. Not necessarily for payment, but just because it fulfils me.
Here is an excerpt from her work:
Briskly, I walk along the smooth dry road all pensive
The road seems to have no end not even the scorching sun
Or the waft of adjacent trees seems to change the bearing of my trail of thoughts that out of control have spun
I hasten steps half walking, half running with all my will
Determined to reach that gate and still,
My mind, body and soul is on you like a reel
For too long, this road has tested my feet as though captive
And that gate, where love promised its return
Mocks my efforts which wane with every twist and turn
My waning heart suffers with every step
That these foolish hopeful feet take
Will my love again ever be?
Though at times a step away it has always been
Peering from beyond the fence
Shall this road my dusty end?
Or will it be the grave of this waiting heart?
That longs for amends
My love keep your promise
And gift me your return, it doesn’t matter how long it takes
Silence that ridiculing gate
For here I’ll stay and wait