Thinking aloud, while sipping palmwine in England - Darko Antwi

Perhaps it's raining
in my hometown
And the roaming goats
must have sought shelter
under the barn of maize and dried cassava

Perhaps it's raining
And the old lady is keeping some firewood
safe for morning porridge
and lukewarm bathwater

Perhaps it's raining
And Papa ought to rise
from his reclined chair
and place a barrel under the pelvis of the roof
to contain the pleasurable thrust of the waterfall

Perhaps it's raining
And the village boys and girls
are having an athletic fair:
cartwheeling themselves across fields,
or molding clay into Rubus fruticosus,
or reshaping the plastic soil to form urban houses,
owned by distant relatives
who have become pregnant men at Santasi

If it does not rain tomorrow,
will those boys and girls
cross the boundaries of the village
and trot around the globe
in chase of wild goose,
and wear out their fiber and cerebral,
for nickels and dimes?

Perhaps it's raining. Perhaps it's raining...
raining in the place of my birth...
raining cats and dogs.


Darko Antwi said...

I dedicate this poem to Kwaku, my first child, who is just four days old

foster toppar said...

I enjoyed your poem it's been a while merry christmas

Kwadwo Oteng Owusu said...

i must say i enjoyed reading the images you painted with your words..é molto bellissmo!!!!

Rob Taylor said...

Wow! Congratulations to you and yours, Darko!

And Merry Christmas, everyone!

novisi said...

That's a thought provoking peace of work you have there. I like the imagery of reactions to rain (which use of rain rather largely reflects or represents resourcefulness) and that there's the dovetail into what happens in the absence of rain. This contrast, however so indicative, plays out beautifully. This could serve as a mirror for anyone who is faced with the dilemma of choosing between to options given the presence/absence of resources. and needless to say the language is rich. I love it. and congrats to Daddy you!

Prince Mensah said...

Classic! A fine way to end the poetic year. I love the way rain is connotative of fleeting opportunities. In Darko's poem, rain also becomes a backdrop for a world where possessions are 'owned by distant relatives/who have become pregnant men at Santasi'. I think Darko captures the desperation of Ghanaian youth who can see prosperity all around them but cannot access it because it is in the hands of 'pregnant men', who have no delivery date for what they purport to carry within themselves. The 'pregnant men' stand for our leaders (chiefs, politicians and business men) who are familiar to the struggles of existence but offer no assistance or leadership to the young.

Rain makes everything slippery - even one's path in the world can become treacherous when the rains of life pour themselves on us. Perhaps I am interpreting this poem beyond what Darko intended: I am already dissecting it into a How Poems Work piece. I am happy that he can still sip palmwine in London as he relishes in his new role as father. Welcome to the club. Congratulations, Darko. Afehyiapa!

Dela Bobobee said...

Really cool. Another masterpiece from wordsmith Snr. Poet Darko Antwi.

In his traditional masterful way handling graphic imagery, the poet paints a represntative picture of what nostalgia looks like on canvas.

The comparism of foreign and native, the transition from the native hue to foreign taint was handled very well.

"-trot around the globe
in chase of wild goose,
and wear out their fiber and cerebral,
for nickels and dimes?"

This is a very typical example of Albert Camus’s philosophical essay in The Myth of Sisyphus - futility in absurdity. Very intellectual, but in my opinion, the globetrotting exercise may not necessarily be as futile as the poem may want us to believe. It can rather be seen as an incomparable lifetime wealth of experience. There are always some hidden elements of gain for the restless sojourner at the end, if only we look deeper and beyond the facade of futility. Well-done job.

Congratulations on the timely arrival of your adorable little cutie, Kweku (my name sake, lol.)It's a double celebration for us then. My regards to your lovely wife.

I hereby wish my compliments of the season to you all OGOV members. It's really nice to be back home.

LS said...

Travel And See, that Troto-esque saying goes.

The immigrant experience can both be both rewarding and harrowing. Huge sums of money are funneled back home to Africa every year in the form of remittances sent by immigrants, to prop up both their families and their countries. The Migration and Remittances FactBook 2011 says that Nigerians abroad alone send home more than 10 billion dollars every year.

No one knows the exact numbers, but in the course of the recent conflict in Libya, the rebels ended up wounding, torturing and killing Black Africans. Most of these people were passing through on their way to Europe, hoping to get in through the Mediterranean countries. Some were accused of fighting for Gaddaffi. Is the AU doing anything about this?

Probably the way to look at this is ask why Africans leave home for foreign lands and I believe the reasons are the same even when one goes back to why the earliest hominids left the continent: food and shelter. Today we'll call it the economic imperative.

I do not agree with Philip that this is another slave trade, I prefer to call it globalisation. And I don't think the suffering of the slave trading and colonial era were in vain. Too many died, so much of the culture was eviscerated. We are precisely where we are because of those histories. Our mono-culture and dependent economies were put into place after the abolition, and before colonialism proper when we started to cultivate palm oil, cocoa, etc, to sell to the West to make up for the shortfall in revenue after the end of slavery. Though our economies have probably improved, we're still not too far away from that kind of dependence on primary products. Today, we have even found oil!

Juanita's concerns are those that plague the immigrant after he has settled in the West. Returning home, you find everyone, even your own relatives call you 'obroni'. To them you have become a Westener. It is a sore point most especially for their children born in the West.

Thanks Darko Antwi, and thanks for the mention.


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

Many thanks to Foster, Kwadwo, Rob, Novisi, Prince, Dela and LS for all the nice appreciation & family greetings.

Just last week, a link at facebook led me to the Poetry Foundation Ghana site, where I read an article by Nana Agyemang Ofosu. Titled, 'Was Poetry Dead In Ghana?' Halfway through the article, Nana uses the exclamatory: 'I know how a poet feels when he receives a lot of readership.' I followed downhill the paragraphs expecting a description of a poet's feeling, upon receiving a lot of readership. But Nana technically leaves the statement closed. He goes further to talk about Elhalakasa, Mutombo, Black Benedict, Alewa and other subjects relevant to his headline.

As I thought of the writer's closure, I realised he means: a feeling that cannot be described. Having received thumbs-up at facebook, coupled with the nice OGOV commentary, I can hardly find words for the feeling that runs through me. It's indescribable. Very testimonial to Nana's knowledge.

In response to Novisi's, Prince's, Dela's and LS's judicious views, I would like to say that most of the conclusions and interpretations are my thoughts. And any additions of theirs are incredible to my education, as well as my edification.

Laying bare the good and bad of immigration, I agree with Dela on the 'elements of gain'. As my poem fails to recognise those elements, I would like to rethink my views on Roland Marke's 'Africa's Shores'. Now, I understand that poetry, unlike essays and plays, could not guarantee us the praise Wole Soyinka has earned for himself, for treating colonialism with a paradoxical perspective. Simply explained, Soyinka looks at the two dimensions of the subject. LS has been hitting on the right notes!

When I was given the opportunity to answer the 5th question of my latest OGOV interview, I could have gone on and on to mention other poems that potentially made rocket provision for ascending discussion. Prince Mensah's 'portrait of a lotto prophet as a savior of the people' would have been on the list. Isn't his title classic, too?

Dela I feel honored by the given title. So do not feel uncomfortable when, with all sincerity, I begin calling you: Most Senior Poet. Because you deserve it.

It's nice we came back home; to OGOV for Christmas.