Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ghanaian Poets I: Kofi Anyidoho: My Song

Ha, found the first. My Song by Kofi Anyidoho. It's kinda cool because I went to school with his daughter and she's a poem herself. He says of this poem "This poem is something of a signature tune, an invitation to "My song." It in part a translation of, and in part in elaboration on, an original Ewe song by one of the poet-cantors of the Haikotu Drum of my birth place, Wheta."

My Song

Here
on
this
Public
Square
I
Stand

I sell My Song for those with ears to buy
It is to a tree that a bull is tied
You do not bypass the palm's branches
to tap its wine

The things I have to say

I say them now
I shall stand aside
from those who care
to clear their throat and
dress their shame in lies

When you meet a poorly-dressed neighbour
at a great durbar
you do not spit on the ground
and roll your eyes to the skies

The umbrella I bought
You stole from my rooms at dawn
Now I walk in the early morning rain

You point at me to our young maidens
And they join you in laughter

Think
My People
Think
Think well before you laugh at those who walk in the rain.

The gifts that bestows at birth
Some had some splendid things
What was mine?
I sing. They laugh.
Still I sell My Song
for those with ears to buy

My cloth is torn, I know
But I shall learn to wear it well

My voice is hoarse, I know
But I shall learn to wear it well.
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