Once a toddler, I was nurtured
and intoxicated with pure idealism
on the annals of your pristine glories
unpardonable grievances cruelly extorted
by your tryst with those twin brothers
beckoning tasseled packages of promises
dumped abruptly by your sated lovers
who were your deceivers from the start
you cover your nakedness with self-pity
reparations, dignity callously denied.
With tear stained voice I cried foul
like a wounded lion I prowled and lurked.
Now a teetotaler, I trudge the unbiased path of realism
the true foes seen in our own moral vices
heart cleansing hedged, procrastination embraced.
On this lonely crossroad I falter
as the morning sun of reality dazzled
and compelled me to calmly accept with a sigh
the unwillingness of the mirror’s verdict as the truth
an undiluted reflection of your ugly image.
But when I cry myself hoarse
Who will hear my weak voice?
The voice of our unfinished song
The song replete with much sorrow
The sorrow of our heavy hearts
The hearts of our young leaders
The leaders of our tomorrow
The tomorrow of our dear Africa
The Africa, our only true new Africa.
Like a phoenix rising from the crucible of dust
ascend the true throne of purged conscience.
The nebulous whirlwind in the horizon
charted by the vertigo of technology
twirled and dazed my forefathers of old
to dance to strange whispering tunes
lost in the heightened tempo scuffles
Amuga became confused, convulsed and chased
my ancestors backwards to odd resettlements
to take stock, nurse imaginary and real wounds.
Aftermath triumphs over Akosombo and Kpong
unearthed the near stagnation of weakened Amuga
writhing in manacles of mud, slime and hyacinth
manure by the puke of looms of Akotex and Juantex
daring insatiate young swimmers and divers
harbingers of the dreaded cystitis blood in urine
my riverine people are hydrophobias overnight
the exodus of Tongu gold, afani-picking vocation.
Upstream at the Afram Plains and beyond
thick rain forests become man-made lakes
hunters now hunt in canoes on islands
their usual game helplessly marooned
kindle firewood is now fetched on water
half submerged stumps boats to capsize
many souls to swallow to swell the tears
savannah vultures now feed fat on water.
The quiet storm heaves a sigh of change
Battor and her sisters in North Tongu
now scratch their fingers on walls as
Dzidegbe flares the moonlight flees
the smooth coal tar ate the coarse gravels
Amuga, the world’s largest man-made lake
is now tamed and termed domesticated
but let us take stock of our good
that was replaced with their best.
Is it there all really is? Amuga whispers to me
Son do not flinch nor wince if Ogonied on the alter
such were the fate of your forerunners slain
now martyrs in the ecological tussles for nature
death embraced for every life to thrive on earth healthy.
The Fragrance of Nostalgia
Once upon a time at a starry sheen moonlight
heart rending serenade passionately responded I
as luring whiff of unmistakable fragrance of nostalgia
plummeted me through childhood hazy maze
and with crystal longing stares of forgotten voices
stoked the smoldering embers of sleeping fires
and once again retrospect’s court summoned me
to drink the bittersweet verdict of ambivalence.
Paths not taken, smiles not returned
Seeds half sowed in stunted growth
insatiate disrupted oyster deep diving swims
scintillating fishing expedition thrills gnawed
berry picking sprees, jungle-hunting packs
truancy-laden schools barefooted trodden.
Puberty slapped and hurtled me
headlong into the preposterous travail
pits of the hazy mazes of adolescence
naive serenading virgins ventured
behind flowering shrubs wittingly lured
sent away limping as initiating tasted
naivety fled leaving a gnawing quest
unwitting scapegoats of juvenile delinquency
Oh! But how many childhood sweethearts!
ripe fruits untainted, not plucked!
dreams unfulfilled, snares not dodged
eggs in nest not hatched and songs unsung
what remains is only the fragrance of nostalgia
Charting the path of future hunches without regrets.
The Path Taken
Today may offer me dualities
the sole chance of a rare charisma
those childhood steps to retrace
but tempt not my lofty dreams
yesterday’s hunches are
today’s serendipity savored
by intellectual stimulation
yesterday is today
and today is tomorrow charted
by revolution which is only permanent
tomorrow is the future
and the future is forever propelled
by vestiges of subtle forces
forever is infinity
and infinity is captured
by becoming one with nature.
A path to chart I have
the flock to pasture
dead conscience to revive
the stony hearts of mankind
to sail on
the turbulent waves of serendipity
until the berth
at the serene mooring of humanity
where the sound of silence
is painted in bright colour of love.
The moon shone on the silent graveyard
sniffing dusty dieing footsteps of mourners
subtle echoing dirges rekindle old tassels
forgotten sleeping fires leaped from sages past.
The cool evening breeze blew over the earth
the weary living seek repose from the day’s toil
solemnly I strolled this very hour the ranks
where forerunners lay in perpetual sleep
their cradles neatly lay in rows of reminiscence.
The cool rain has watered and sodden the ground
yet they stubbornly refuse to germinate
the cock had crowed yet they remain asleep
the cool gentle breeze to pacify them they ignore.
why are the living shunned by the dead?
Perhaps the dead are angry at our mournful pity
or maybe they are full of many regrets in retrospect
of what should have been done that was left undone.
Behold the graveyard has become the brain yard of ideas
replete with so many lofty dreams that lay untried
brilliant masterpieces wasted on the alter of indecision
complacency has murdered ingenuity in cold blood
beloved, hearken to the hoarse voice of wisdom
the green leaves take a cue when the dry leaves fall.
the earth is starved of sane ideas because they lay hidden
buried in the graveyards of procrastination.
Weep not when I die, and place no RIP – Return Impossible
I do not seek any “Revel In Procrastination.”
So against all odds I set forth limping and crawling early at dawn.
to let it be swift but powerful, altruistic and memorable.
So help me God.
Oh! Great sages of blema
here I come once again
my voice has gone blunt
and in need of whetting
I am going to the forge
to saddle my voice again
at the foot of the brook
where orchids hung from
the nooks of prehistoric oaks
to defy baobab of the savannah.
There is no propitiation here
but the invocation of the sages
here, your salt, honey, palm oil
cola nuts and cowries
I have not forgotten
to bring packages of tasseled lion hackles
I have once wrestled my gourd
from the whirlwind alone
and sustained a mortal scars
as a solitary stipple of prowess.
I call on Tutu, I call Avakpe
Ayidzolu and Agbadzo
neither in distress nor for a war dance
but to guide me to the waterfall
at the sprawling foot of the rainbow
and help me catch the spray
from the eaves early at dawn.
I am the great Hunnour
who does not initiate in the sacred Yeve
for when the head has gone awry
in the omega mood of astral trip
no priests can restore
but only by the wise gods of blema.
That is why I set forth early
at dawn with the dews to wait
at the forge where only gods
and goddesses eat orchids for breakfast
and belch rose petals to soothe
the aching hollow heart of mankind.
The Brain Gain
There is a certain new tempo of rhythm
when the old flare of the nomadic is dim
rustling through the thick undergrowths
gnawing at the hearts of African youths
wading through the oceans and high seas
so solemn beyond what the mortal eyes sees
on every valleys, molehills, and mountains
flowing raw from the prehistoric fountains
Nkoyeni’s cryptic urgent clarion home call
gaining momentum without a sigh of a lull.
Rushing homewards is the youth with gains
albeit the hurdles, untold gory joys of pains
multiplying what Africa lost in the bargains.
When the old lofty barns we now overflow
heightens our paces home will never slow
when the sated pastures no longer greener
evaporated is our old naivety of a learner
then comes the seeping away of the brains
which has finally suffocated the old drains.
There is also another great trek of a new flock
whose genes are not part of Nkoyeni’s old fold
these new creeds now speckle the youths’ pluck
in old sojourns as new trophies returning bold
the other new races now migrate on their own
their returning instincts to Africa never disown
where nuclei human first sprouted life abroad
their climate the foolhardy greed had polluted
their panting thirst for cleaner air very broad
the power of forgiveness revenge now uprooted
legendary African spirit to accommodate given
the pillage, rape, indignity, forgotten, forgiven.
And I see a new Africa and a new conscience
ascending from the pit of mediocrity to the zenith
sparkling with magnanimity and true patience
bold sages again to look calm with pride beneath
where the savannahs, rainforests swallow the drought
for the pride lands the rains many gains had brought.
Oh! What is in the offing for me?
which leaves gnawing anxiety for me?
impatience boils in my breast
without any sign of a little rest
for all the sleepless nights endured
nothing but success to be assured
for all the oil that burnt with the night
to humbly prove many a wrong right.
Oh! The die is already cast
only in prayers to be steadfast
Oh! On this fearful alter of JAMB
I calmly lay like a helpless LAMB
and just like her old twin sister WAEC
many a student’s hope they but WRECK
my failure, my success on these lands
Oh! God, I commit into your able hands.
(c) Dela Bobobee