From the Archives: "For Alms Sake" by Edith Faalong

We went to beg for alms,
so they called a roundtable of vultures
and passed round a basket.
Each dropped in it a metalic coin with glee.

I peeped in the basket:
It was the same old basket
lined with the grey of age,
the straw at its sides ripping slowly apart.

When it got to the end of the table,
it was barely full.
So they called their butler.

He stood before us all and,
pouring pressure and complexities,
he filled the basket.

We wanted to leave then.
But the sound of metal life against itself
in the basket weighed down our pants.
And so with our heads bowed,
we reached deep in our pockets, pulled
out our few gold coins,
wrapped them delicately
in white handkerchiefs
and handed them over.

Then the tallest among us cheered.
We all prostrated and gave our thanks.

The most leprotic of them lifted his glass
and everyone accepted his toast.
The deed had been done,
the deal closed.
Sitting back up and looking from face to face,
I saw men become swine.

From the centre of the table,
there was a loud noise then
I saw spider webs push out,
rush in all directions,
and bind each beggar
'til we were forced to drop the basket.

But we could not have our Gold
nor our white handkerchiefs back.

So in the end, in the end,
we went home with only
what the butler brought
clinging to us.

Old poems at OGOV don't die, but live on in our archives! Every once in a while we will dust one off for our newer readers to enjoy. "For Alms Sake" was orginally published on OGOV on April 5th, 2008.


Zol said...

I am also a poet from the Upper West but now living in abroad. I am enthused that Ms. Faalong is opening the gates for female poets from the Upper West Region to make their talents known.

Keep it up.

Dannabang Kuwabong

Zol said...

Ms. Faalong, you have opened the gates to female but silent poets of the Upper West. You must continue in the path of our mothers who are such beautiful traditional poets.

Dannabang Kuwabong

novisi said...

poems like this one make the blood boil.

we have been raped under sunlight!
but on the other hand we must grow wiser not to fall into traps of anarchy under any false guises of so called 'Arab Spring'.

we have reached a time where there's the high demand for intellectual power pooling for effective aim at the root of the problem so as, if not to reverse the loses at all, then at least, to maintain a good balance in the power play for our benefit.

the revolution is one of intellectual capacity building. This poem is a revolutionary poem the meets the realities of the present.

the poet therefore must be the provebial Yaa Asantewaa leading the way by stinging our dormant senses to rise! And she need not say it. The call is loud albeit not explicit.