POETRY

SONGS OF SORROW by Kofi Awoonor

Dzogbese Lisa has treated me thus

It has led me among the sharps of the forest

Returning is not possible

And going forward is a great difficulty

The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces

Into which I have stepped

When I clean it cannot go.

I am on the world’s extreme corner,

I am not sitting in the row with the eminent

But those who are lucky

Sit in the middle and forget

I am on the world’s extreme corner

I can only go beyond and forget.

My people, I have been somewhere

If I turn here, the rain beats me

If I turn there the sun burns me

The firewood of this world

Is for only those who can take heart

That is why not all can gather it.

The world is not good for anybody

But you are so happy with your fate;

Alas! the travelers are back

All covered with debt.

Something has happened to me

The things so great that I cannot weep;

I have no sons to fire the gun when I die

And no daughter to wail when I close my mouth

I have wandered on the wilderness

The great wilderness men call life

The rain has beaten me,

And the sharp stumps cut as keen as knives

I shall go beyond and rest.

I have no kin and no brother,

Death has made war upon our house;

And Kpeti’s great household is no more,

Only the broken fence stands;

And those who dared not look in his face

Have come out as men.

How well their pride is with them.

Let those gone before take note

They have treated their offspring badly.

What is the wailing for?

Somebody is dead. Agosu himself

Alas! a snake has bitten me

My right arm is broken,

And the tree on which I lean is fallen.

Agosi if you go tell them,

Tell Nyidevu, Kpeti, and Kove

That they have done us evil;

Tell them their house is falling

And the trees in the fence

Have been eaten by termites;

That the martels curse them.

Ask them why they idle there

While we suffer, and eat sand.

And the crow and the vulture

Hover always above our broken fences

And strangers walk over our portion.

Kofi Awoonor, poet and patriarch of African poetry passed on to our memories on September 21st, 2013 in the Westgate Mall Attack in Kenya

Kofi Awoonor, poet and patriarch of African poetry passed on to our memories on September 21st, 2013 in the Westgate Mall Attack in Kenya

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2 thoughts on “SONGS OF SORROW by Kofi Awoonor

  1. Pingback: GUEST THRILLS AND A TRIBUTE: THE AWF SEPTEMBER GUEST WRITER SESSION by Su’eddie Vershima Agema | Su'eddie in Life n Literature

  2. Pingback: GIANT OF THE GOLD COAST (a poem for Kofi) by Agatha Aduro | Su'eddie in Life n Literature

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