Thursday, August 17, 2006


My mother had an umbrella
With ocean blue and maroon patches
Which she carried everywhere she went
Especially when she escorted me to the art school
On sultry summer afternoons
The umbrella with my mother’s lean frame
Created a rolling shadow on the melting tar
And I marched strides with that shadow
For the shade of my mother’s comfort

Now, at midnight, in this middle-aged city
Among the desecrations of an old civilisation
I stand bereft under a glowing street light
My skin cannot hide the shame of my body
There’s no shade here: and I
Bargained for my skins for a packet of love
Which I left behind among the Bedouins
And my aged soul, too tired even to
Finish it all, too scared to finish it all
A glimmer of hope flickers –

A shade!
Oh, my mother!

When I was born no drums beat
My parents were disappointed with their harvest
They wanted a baby girl
With my mother’s beauty and my father’s intelligence
I was given a girl’s name
On the third day father brought for me a girl’s dress
My hair was grown long and was
Tied into two plaits with yellow ribbon
In short I was a girl
Except for my pee-pee

The days were stuff of dream
Like air bubbles boys in our neighbourhood
Created from the juices of Akan tree
And one day the bubble burst and
She was born
A real daughter for my parents
I was awaken rudely of the dream
They chopped my hair short,
Tore away my frock
And gave her my name
Leaving me exposed with my pee-pee
In broad daylight

I cried and it rained
I was born that day
The falling rain was my father
And the soggy soil My mother…

No comments:

Post a Comment