Ghanaian poet and author, Professor Kofi Awoonor, was among those killed in the September 2013 attack at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya
i, this moment of mourning,
wait, burdened by the grief of our parting,
i am thinking of you, thinking
about widows who weep for husbands who are no more,
i think about children who bear doves
in their hands, pleading life and peace,
i think of being burdened
by the silences of cemeteries that once bordered
the outskirts of our hometowns–their wet eyes of sand,
tombstones conceal our own grieves,
yet oblivious of silence —
that have now become homes that know no joy,
full of sorrows,
of the shadows of the setting sun familiar as death.
you are no longer a citizen of this continent
sadness now wounds,
still, i think of about this moment,
i clear the sea of mourners with my eyes,
thinking it appropriate to curse those merchants of death,
i think about you, still.
what road has taken you away
that has not returned you to us?
lover of places i love, we love.
what path bears your footprints?
where are you lover of poetry, voyager
of voyages, of time, of places in the sun,
whose voice i no longer hear, whose songs
echo in the backyard of time?
where are you, kindred-poet, as the world celebrates you?
you are silent where i trace and retrace the shadow of your absence, where
i trace your names, face in the sunlight among trees, among the atoms of time.
lover of places i love, of whitening pages of poems that search out my wowed eyes,
under which sun does your shadow stay motionless?
which tree, which branch bears
the memorial plaque?
what road has taken you away,
what road that has not returned you to us?
your journey is this sad awakening,
this journey of time
fleeting at the forks of the road,
the paths of the sun, rain and the earth,
the slow procession of mourners
& hands that bid goodbyes;
journey wounds the earth, hearts that wish
tears would banish the sunset,
my eyes trace on the sand of memories.
you have been gone for days now
i listen to the road without hearing your footsteps,
look at the clock, without seeing or knowing when time departs or arrives….
*Obemata is the pseudonym of the Nigerian lawyer & poet, Abdul Mahmud. His anthology of poems, “Triptych” (2013) is on sale at www. amazon. com
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