Animal - Prince Mensah

Where were you when I stood on foreign ground
amidst a cold and alien weather,
sweating for a dollar, a pence, a pound,
only to come home to suffer murder
at your hands, my brother? You think
money appears as soon as you blink,
that it was easy on roads to success,
that it was not filled with hurts and duress?

Where were you during summer, fall, winter,
spring when I uttered my own language,
getting no reply---I missed my mother;
overtime and taxes got me in rage.
I wanted to meet another Ghanaian,
one to whom my struggles wouldn’t be alien;
of cultural shocks, of lonely nights when
memories of home like candles burned.

Where were you when a gun was held to me;
a youngster, teeth full of ice, jacking me.
I gave him all that I had, all day’s work;
hard-gotten money bought me good luck
or so I thought---only to be jacked again.
This time, in my own country---Brother Cain,
this is animal behavior, go to work.
You’re running low on Fate’s perilous clock.


Anonymous said...

i wonder why no one has commented on this yet.
i have become a regular on this site just recently. i have gone into the archives and i have read and reread almostall the poems. and this poem caught my interest more than much that i have gone through it many times. this IS a good one.

Rob Taylor said...


Thanks for your comment! For some reason comments have been on the decline as of late - so I encourage you to be the one who revives them! This poem, it's true, deserves much more discussion!

Anonymous said...

I think that the poem, 'ANIMAL' deserves a lot of discussion. People who travel outside their countries of origins, especially Africans, face the envy and animousity of their fellow countrymen. Is there anyway this blog can partner with a radio or TV station or university in Africa that can give our people food for thought through the exposure of such fine poetry?

Cyrus Appiah-Kubi said...

I have read this poem 'Animal' and I am loving it. Are there any more poems by this poet? I am really interested. This poetry website has to be known in mainland Ghana. You guys need a link on Joy FM, Peace FM or Ghanaweb. I love the knowledge being dropped through this wildly intelligent poetry. I'll be telling all my friends about this website!

Rob Taylor said...

Cyrus -

I'm happy to tell you that Prince and his poetry will be profiled on OGOV again in a couple of weeks - so be sure to check back!

Ghanaweb has been very good promoting us in the past, though we haven't had as much success getting on the major radio stations.

That being said, we are always looking for new volunteers to help us spread the word!

Akosua Adeyepena said...


After reading your poem, ANIMAL, I went to your site and I really loved your poetry. Do you have any published books of poetry? I am proud of the fact that young Africans are taking over the baton from great poets like Kwesi Brew, Dennis Brutus and Wole Soyinka. I learnt African poetry in college and have grown to appreciate it every time.
Everyone on this website has potential and I can predict that a great wave of iconic African poetry is about to land on the shore of world poetry.

Thank you so much and keep writing!

Akosua Adeyepena

Cyrus Appiah-Kubi said...

I agree with you, Akosua. This site is a hit! Prince is certainly a poet to watch. I can only speak for myself but this is certainly the best site out there when it comes to African poetry.

I like the fact that Prince Mensah did a direct translation of the Twi word, abua, which means animal. That is the exact word used for thieves and armed robbers in Ghana. I am now addicted to this site that I keep coming over thrice a week. I have read cool poetry like 'Sankofa' and 'The Other Side of the River'. I just can't get enough of this site!

Nimaali Muniru said...

A good tittle for a good poem.
i enjoyed Reading it.