If I could fly back once more, may I follow old fly-paths
May I swoop to watch the head butting dance of mudskippers beneath your bridges. It is a sad truth about the trajectory of flight that whatever goes up must in time descend.
Let’s look at this without a quadrant in a dense region of chimney mist.
You shuffle your feet grudgingly against the turf of smoke
there is no clumping, no going.
Only the flailing & swirling of drowsy limbs striving to gather up themselves again.
While another region get 24 months of harmattan, you will not understand how much ache we bear beyond finality.
April rains arrive with dread, thunder-howls; silver ribbons intermittently bracing the clouds.
Not withholding the cataclysm & sweet petrichor, at sundown, we are responsible for the blight.
There is no way to understand this. For instance in the 4th quadrant
There are many steps to the cradle,
turn upon turn, each inserting into themselves
paths intertwining, paths interlocking, paths intersecting…
Death & peace & salvation, walking through themselves with their habits
you may recognize their gait by the declaration
of the white plover, returning from the fanfare of bones.
/In the 3rd quadrant/
The summit is a place of thick, thick-plump
shadows, like the darkened city of elms
we search for asters
to which ones befit these drooping rims
in those nights of vesper bodies walk clumsily
on the broken stairway. With the warm caress
of my palm, I shove your delicate pieces,
sedan of bones, I lift you into
the nightly glow of the tabernacle.
gently, gently with a cool solder
I lay your groin in the heat & weld
the overstretching crease where
the crevice is hollowing into the forge.
/That with able feet you may leap beyond the 3rd /
the long queue protruding the doorway
behind mire & vermilion coal, to which stoic
bodies grow weary with pain.
/Step, step, hop, hop & jump into the 1st/
you arrive in the dark day of famine
under the eucalyptus, despite the drought
the sacred leaves spurt tenderly above your head
to retell of hunger on the sickening patch
in Dzeluokope, these very fingers
have tilled the same furrow
a son is sailing under the evening tide
he’s yelling beneath water, beyond our sightlessness
drumming inconsolably against his belly
telling the route the maize would bend
from the despoilers but we cannot hear.
If you could fly back once more,
may you follow old fly-paths
may you swoop to watch
the head butting dance of mudskippers
beneath your bridges. it is a sad truth
about the trajectory of flight
that whatever goes up must in time descend.
Starred excerpts taken from L.S Mensah’s poem, To the Volta. (According to sources anthology, 2015.)
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Columnist: Gabriel Awuah Mainoo