Obituary - Reggie Kyere


I ate at my parents'
house: rice and tomato
stew every Sunday morning
'til my father left
with a toothbrush, a Pepsodent
pressed to the middle
and a Geisha soap.
Mother said he had
a six-foot woman
in his leopard-skin bag.
I couldn't remember for I was four.
I now eat at my mother's
house: beans and ripe plantain
on Mondays, fufu and
palm-nut soup on Sundays.
A balanced diet, says mother.

But not all is balanced
in that old house
that leans like a tv pole
after heavy rains:
the chairs squeak -
a couple in dire need
of a walking stick,
the tables are wobbly -
and some have a foot
amputated. And did I tell you
about an uncle who died
leaving behind
a light-blue polo shirt,
size forty-five shoes
with wooden soles
that sit on one buttock,
and an old lantern:
said he got it from
Elmina castle.

I sit in his room
holding my size forty-two foot,
facing the bald head of Nkrumah,
an old wooden table
with a plastic limb,
some literature books
and an old lantern
to burn at midnight.
His shoes?
They are buried
six feet under the bed
with shoe polish and an old brush,
should he need to wear them.
Couldn't fit, shouldn't fit.

7 comments:

JABULANI MZINYATHI said...

my view is that there is great imagery in this sad poem. sad in that it portrays social dislocation. the freshness of imagery: tables with amputated legs. ah great man

Prince Mensah said...

This is my advise to you, Reggie

Write, write, write and do not ever stop ever though there will be hills to climb and rivers to cross. You have it in you. You are destined to be one of Ghana's finest writers, but do not stop any time soon. Even when you achieve whatever you seek in your writing career, do not stop. Only stop when breathing stops.

I love Obituary and its employment of broken images. There is a sense of resigned resolution hidden in this poem, which corresponds with the finality of death. However, there is another kind of resolution apparent throughout the poem - the will to live no matter how broken or imperfect we are.

I was once told by an old man to reach for the sun for if I missed it, I will still fall on the moon, which is still a high place to be. Write furiously about life - what it does to you, how it makes you feel (good or bad), why you think things are the way they are and other issues that most people tend to overlook. As a poet, you are a little bit of everything. Fill your mind with all the knowledge you can find, not only book knowledge, but knowledge from our elders, knowledge from our culture, knowledge that a lot of people are afraid to use.

Kudos on a splendid poem!

Prince Mensah

Darko Antwi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i am new to this site,
and perhaps to african and ghana poetry in general

but i am very happy i came across that
it is wonderful, rich and tasteful..
made my room turn into your house, lit by the lantern,,,

Darko Antwi said...

Reggie, once again I have to overlook your humble biography - and praise the magnitude of your writing skill. Work hard, take Prince's advice and believe how incredibly far you can go.

Weldone Reggie

Reggie kyere said...

Thank you all for your comments.truly,they make me want to write more.

Bernadette Poku said...

reggie , good job, your piece is refreshing