To The Congo (A Spell Against Forgetfulness) - L.S. Mensah

I know nothing of what the storm tells
of the history of the congo
does it begin when it thunders
or does it finish when geography
and geo-history
mingle or join themselves

- “The Hearse”, Tchicaya U Tam'si

The river that forgets its river-ness,
Abandons its engagement with the sea,
It forgets the shrieks of yellow
Beaked gulls, bent on
Raising raucous hell, over

The availability of nesting
Seaweed. It thinks no more
Of wader birds on tide-fled
Estuaries, probing the mud’s
Scalp, for invertebrates

The memory-harassed river,
Dis-remembers the speckled kingfisher,
That scans the water’s torso in High
Definition, to dive bomb for blue
Crabs. It blanks out the eternal cursive

Of the waves, lace-cuffed, playing
Adzenuloo, Adzenubaa*
With the harried shingle,
In its forever dance
Of etch-and-erase
But the sound of water in its many incarnations:
    Trickles – gushes – splurges 
                Whooshes – slurps – mizzles
                               Drizzles – splashes – gurgles
Forever haunts the river that forgets its river-ness.

*Riddling game in Accra
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