Lay Me Here - Mutombo


Coastal breezes fondle the individual
filaments of hair on my skin,
causing them to sway back and forth
and this feeling leaves me with a grin.

Sights of very old infants clasping
on day old branches just to harvest fruits
and sounds of the Atumpan echoes
rhythms that remind me of my roots.

These celibate eyes enjoy devouring the images
of beads cuffed around the waists of females,
and my discerning ears love to scoop
the intricate plots of Ananse tales.

So when I embrace my demise,
lay me here.



My soul will still love to sponsor
the parching breeze of the Harmattan,
whilst my dusty feet will unceasingly look forward
to play and run with children who are fast like Ramadan.

So this throat vies to be the channel
for water fetched from earthenware pots,
so do I want to synchronize the deafening clich├ęs
hooted by hawkers so their petty items can be bought.

Oh! I don’t want to long
for my Daughters and Sons,
for without them, my death
will witness no yearly ritual dance.

So when the bucket arrives for me to kick,
lay me here.


Inter me in the earth
next to my ancestors,
so my putrefying flesh
sticks to their bones like a poster.

I want to be a shelter
to their bones
because the overwhelming strength
of the weather defeated their tombstones.

You should remember me
when you pass by each passing day,
for with your memory,
I know I will forever stay.

So when I expire,
please lay me here.

14 comments:

Adjei Agyei-Baah said...

This is a very beautiful piece.I think no poet will ever be afraid of death after making his mark for people to track.We will die but our words will keep us alive.Thanks for daring death in the face!

Mutombo said...

It's time for us to etched our words into every individual In this country and elsewhere.We should shrink Africa with our words so we all become a unit.Unity is all we need and we can only do this with discerning words like these!!

Darko Antwi said...

PARDON MY CONTRAST
Notwithstanding the fact that last week's poem, Ashanti, was eventful, rhetoric and oral-deliberate, I found its theme to have been inflated by the use of a common device. As a result it held too much air and less water (themetic substance).

In particular reference to 'Ashanti', I have realised that hyperboles are like ladies'/ a clown's cosmetic make-up. When used very often at a time, it erodes the natural beauty and the seriuosness of a poem.

The present poem, 'Lay me here', gives me a sharp difference to the previous. Mutombo uses several devices - giving his poetry the drive to sustain the interest of listeners and readers.

I recommend this poem because it holds a limited degree of entertainment. And, i guess, more than 70% thoughtfulness.

L S said...

I have realised that hyperboles are like ladies'/ a clown's cosmetic make-up. When used very often at a time, it erodes the natural beauty and the seriuosness of a poem.What!!!

Darko Antwi, I hope the above was written in a tongue in cheek moment. I'm trying to very hard to suppress my feminist guns.

Apart from that I do like this week's poem. It reminds me of The Wizard's Pride by Y. Egblewogbe, though that poem takes a different tack.

Bye the way, Martin, if you're reading this, are you related?

Prince K. Mensah said...

Adjei’s Ashanti and Mutombo’s Lay Me Here deal with two separate concepts. To compare and contrast them is not fair to both poets and where they are coming from. While Ashanti is celebratory, Lay Me Here is contemplative. Of course, each one of us prefers a certain kind of poetry over the other. However, it is important to appreciate what other poets write about; it enables us to relate to how other people think about the human experience.


I think Lay Me Here by Mutombo is a great poem. His use of pace and repetition creates a sober mood in the poem. Mutombo walks the reader through the simple (Coastal breezes fondle the individual /filaments of hair on my skin) to the surreal (so my putrefying flesh /sticks to their bones like a poster), which makes the poem fluid and fascinating.


The power of this poem lies in the poet’s stoic acceptance of inevitable death. My personal philosophy is to be celebratory in death for it is not the end of everything: It is only a siesta from the hustle and bustle of life. I think life has to be celebrated in death because it evokes a search for purpose in the living. Mutombo’s technique flips this theory around; he celebrates death in life. This gives his poem a healthy quota of mystique and metaphysical quality. I respect that because it reveals a level of maturity that is important to the poetic process.


The most catching line, for me, in Mutombo’s poem is ‘to play and run with children who are fast like Ramadan’. I love the play on not just words, but on their meaning. What I know is that every good poet respects words because words will make you stumble if you ‘disrespect’ them. Mutombo is cognizant of this rule in Lay Me Here and I am certain of his bright future as a poet of immense repute.

Mutombo said...

L.S.I think I know Martin but we are not related.I have heard some of his poems but I can't remember any because I hardly hear him perform.Anyways,I like all of your comments and I learn from them,Remember I will take any commentary that comes from you.Be it negative of positive.I am still learning.I rarely write these kind of poems I call 'classical'.I am more of a spoken word type.I wrote this poem with this website in mind so I think its a dedication to OneghanaOnevoice.

Prine Mensah,that is my favorite line too.I love playing with words in my poems even though It is not so visible in this poem.I always love to write something that will give you a new meaning anytime you read it.

Darko Antwi said...

Thanks Gentlemen, I've got your views. I wouldn't go that far - just to avoid the commentary detour 'Ashanti' went through last week. I'm now taught and I'm glad I've picked some good remarks... therefore I 'Lay myself here'.

Cheers!

Adjei Agyei-Baah said...

Having you guys around has always been a great source of fun.Love your criticisms.It will always be an avenue to help poets to fine tune their lines. i believed that a poem never criticized is no poetry.

Comparing and contrasting two has never been a bad idea.But it becomes clearer and fair if both poems treats a common theme or have other similarities like lines arrangement,mood,diction etc.
I might have over embellished my lines but the historical imprints which move the poet may still stand.And as to whether it's the truth or lie is left for the reader to search and discover.

Let us continuous be each others critic for that in itself is a bucket full of inspiration to us writing.

Motombo has actually impressed me personally.I thought he was more into spoken word than real keep poetry.My Bruda you proved to me that you also into real poetry.Keep it up!

Prince Mensah said...

Here is a hub of poets who are ready to define their world. Let the hunger, the passion and the vision enable yoy to break barriers with your writing. I am humbled by the minds at work here.

Mutombo said...

Agyei-Baah,I remember telling you once that I started with 'classical poetry' before branching into spoken words.The only difference for me is that writing spoken words take me a long time but with this kind of poem on this site,I can write a very good peom in a matter of minutes.My poem here took less than an hour!!I have a few poems that you might want to read sometime and I know you will love all of them

L S said...

I like the fact that this poem moves away from much of the overt ideological positions we take when we write, and is purely celebratory (at least, that's what I think).

Sometimes, I believe, it's okay to cast off the burden we and others place on ourselves, as writers with some grand mission, calling time on our oppressors.

An occasional pulling away from the ethnic and ideological ropes we tie ourselves in allows us to rediscover again, why we first begin to write - words, and the magic they weave.

The ideology will always be there, and when we ignore it, critics like the Troika will always remind us.

Mutombo, I know what you mean by 'classical' poetry, and yet most of us free verse poets on this site could term spoken word poetry as 'classical' because it has its rhyming as a peg on which the poem hangs. Oral poetry is where poetry itself starts, whether we're talking about the Ijala chant, Halo, or the Zulu praise poem.

The free verse poet has to look elsewhere to give his work an internal dynamic and structure. Besides since most of the writers here are African, 'classical' could mean Western poetry(not in a negative way). Some people still look down their noses at haiku if it's not written by Basho, you know what I mean?

As to criticism, one has to actually learn how to do it, unless of course it comes naturally, and the essays of professional critics are difficult to come by, if you do not have access to some academic database or something. and critics are not very popular figures.

Cheers

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

enjoyed reading all your comments. I think this is a healthy discussion. I love most of the poems here.

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