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Sentimental Journey: Poems by Padmore Agbemabiese

Sentimental Journey

come with me to the velvet plains
of Aborkutsime and we by pleasures prove
that laughter and smile nowhere reign
except on tender breasts of Kleleme
where flowers that grow in the groves ain’t stones

come sojourner come homeward with your lazy feet
we’ll play mabu-nadi tonight in Kluhodorkorpe
where you’ll espy damsels that roll their eyes
to whispered songs that wake the nature of the flesh
and we dance above the gods till dawn in our souls
and green corn fields of Akpaglikorpe rustle in your ears

come let’s walk on memory-lane behind night’s orchard
to see shepherds with expensive hushes tether their flocks
by the giant baobab tree while from the blackberry trees
melodious birds sing us ede-mefor-Korsiworfuta-Gefuta
while we seek the Sun eclipsed by morose of latter days

come from guilt to where yevugboma-kple-yakayike
make us pull our seats to comforts of Grandma’s hearth
where etsor-kple is a delight each Monday morning
don’t let the shame in your heart and the anger
in your queasy guts conspire to turn you into stone

come with me to see the tenderness and the ecstasy
in Aborkutsime where under sturdy stars colorful things
far better than souls meld in sweet caress
enrich the flames of blessedness in our love and us
and you wonder what’s it that you smile and sigh

come before the dew falls fast in your face
come kneel before the Chair to give yourself a new start
come before the stars begin to blink along the footpaths
before Kutsiami by his slender cord tethers us to a Stone
and a dirge is the evening meal the maidens give


The Witness

I’ve seen the broods returning
every time the sun sets on the long African plains
with my eyes spotless like a Hawk in the sky
I’ve seen the blue sky through the groves
I’ve walked through its azure shores of palms
found wealth in its bosom felt its heartbeats
I’ve gathered several births in my arms
long before the weaverbird built its nest
and left droppings on the shoulders
of the hearth Grandpa built for Grandma
my young and now a dying heart knows it

I’ve known the land and its rivers
tasted the wine from its palm groves
I’ve sat in the sand in the village yard
with the sweet belles walking to exhaustless springs
sometimes I dream of the day we’ll be drunk with laughter
and dance joyfully to rhythms of misego
when she’ll stir the sand into eyes of evil ones
and make me leap with atsyiagbekor
together we’ll weave intricacies with our lower torso

I’ve held tall memories of home in my loins
long before the Chariot came to our shores
and without manners carried away her grace at dusk
and when she returned she lost the nectar of our life
the pain tore morsels from every soul
and drained every vein of its grateful juice
and now we have lost the soul of our fathers
and our children too have forgotten
the dance we do with ankle-bells on our feet

I have carried the dirt all this long
and it hurts



we met in a class with ten Other students
and the teacher said, I hear we have
an African in this class
I shook within but held tight the fume

she said I’m going to show
this African how much Europe
survived in the African Sun
and taught Africans how to smelter iron
out of the wretched crust of Africa

I shook within but held tight the fume
she looked me in the face and asked
boy, do you know without Europe
the Sun wouldn’t have risen in Africa

I don’t remember the hurt and the fume
but I remember how the students
who once were my friends winced at the devil in my eyes
and left the class with memories they can’t forget


It’s a Tall Song

it is so tall a song
of the mechanic and the carpenter
the mason and the boatman
the shoemaker and the woodcutter
soaked neck deep in the sweat and pain
to cultivate the fields
and go home hungry

it is the long song of the father and the son
lost in the plantation fields
the mother and the daughter
lost in the woods of the overseer
they lost themselves
in a world of the ploughboy’s scythe
cracking bowels of earth sunup till sundown
to bring laughter to the Master’s table

and they have to cultivate the plantation fields
go home hungry
sing with open mouths
ever since the patrolman bundled them
the steamboat drowned their tears
and the night-train did not return for them
and forever
they must cultivate the fields
go home hungry
counting hope in deepest soul

from Africa to Santo Domingo
from Cuba to Haiti, from Gambia to Goree Islands
from Jamaica to Rio de Janeiro
from Ghana to Guyana and Harlem to J’burg
we must sing with souls pleading
in strong but broken melodious voices

we are the song and the songster
who forever cultivate the fields
dance with untold sorrows
and go home hungry

somewhat, you want us to sing
gather our strained Hopes
call on our Cousins and nieces
across the Ocean behind Tall Insulations
hoping we could gather their pleading voices
from Africa to Santo Domingo
from Cuba to Haiti
from Jamaica to Rio de Janeiro
from Ghana to Guyana and from Harlem to J’burg

can you understand how it feels
to go to work in the morning
after having spent the night
soaking wet in the cold rain
of Winter


(c) Padmore Agbemabiese

Padmore Agbemabiese
Padmore Agbemabiese
Dr. Padmore Enyonam Agbemabiese, a Howard Seely Scholar, is a renown Ghanaian poet and scholar who has received numerous awards for his poetry and scholarship. Recently, he was the recipient of the Nnamdi Azikiwe 2007 African Award for Journalism and Scholarship and Julius Nyerere 2007 African Award for Community Development. Currently, he lectures at The Ohio State University. As a bilingual poet, he has published in both English and Ewe, one of the Ghanaian languages. Some of his poems have been translated into Swahili, Chinese and Hindu languages. His Ewe titles include Senyee Wom Alea (1996) and Migblem Di Kpo (1996), while his English titles include The Smell of Exile (2008), Flames of Love, (2007), and Voyages (2003), With Guns and Roses (1999), Prophecy (1998). He has also published critical essays, short stories and poems in various magazines and journals including Essence Magazine, Come Into Our Whirl, African Weekender and Taj Mahal Review (India).


  1. These poems are extraordinanry, well written, well articulated and highly informative. It touches the deep side of the soul and makes you feel nostalgic. I love them.

  2. Efo Enyo you are amazing typical ANLOR man born and raise in Anlor. Very well educated God bless you and your grandmothers who thought you all those proverbs especially Atiavi grama. I will call you about those ewe books. (akpe alor me ga kuwo gberegbere o Mawu nanor kpliwo raa.)

  3. Padmore Agbemabiese is an extraordinary poet who is so gifted. His use of language, control of words shows how much wealth he has in knowledge. Africa and in particular, Ghana must be proud of such a poet. I am glad to have met him personally and shared ideas with him. Keep it up.

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