The last words of Aunt Araba - Darko Antwi



I am going...
when I am gone,
tell Kojo to put away the bottle
else akpeteshie will take a photo of him

I am going...
when I am gone,
tell Birago not to put her head on her husband
for I have not seen a pillow in that man

I am going...
when I am gone,
tell Asantewaa to knock at Esi's door
for she owes me five okra and an onion

I am going...
when I am gone,
tell Ebo to dig a foot deep around the odum
for I have hidden dozens of stones

I am going..
when I am gone,
tell Kakraba not to marry from Manso-Krom
for their women are lions and scorpions

I am going...
when I am gone,
invite Kuntu and offer him some drink
tell him: he has my pardon over the land dispute

I am going...
when I am gone,
tell Aba: I don't need her shadow at my funeral
for the arrows of her falsehood have crushed my soul

I am going...
when I am gone,
be faithful with your vows to Nananom
that you may have their blessing and avoid their wrath

I am going...
ah... oh... oh...



7 comments:

Prince Mensah said...

Another magnificent poem from Darko Antwi. I have to salivate on this poem enough, for my own literary hunger, before I do any analysis. This poem definitely reminds me of the works of older poets like Brew, Okai and Anyidoho. Great work, Mr. Antwi.

Darko Antwi said...

Prince, I'm already inspired by your words, and smiling good to the interest shown so far. Thank you Mr Mensah.

While I look forward to more comments from other ladies and gents, may I please, with all respect to the OGOV editors, use this platform to inform fellow writers that they should expect invitations coming soon into their mails about the Seaweed Books anthology - which has been renamed: Cocoa, Gold and Metaphor.

The management of Seaweed Books has decided on invitation because only one person responded to its call about a year and half ago. Besides that, the publisher has reckoned to go selective in other to gather the finest of Ghanaian poetry.

For an outlook of the book, pls visit my blog: www.darkoantwi.blogspot.com

Thank you very much.

Mariska said...

I really enjoyed this poem. It has the traditional feel, you imagine Auntie Araba lying on a mat in a darkened room dying. In the olden times, words uttered on a death bead infront of witnesses were taken as their last will and testament and all feared to break the will lest the dead came back to revenge. I really felt the atmosphere......

Darko Antwi said...

Thank you Mariska. You've thrown light and substance on a poem I otherwise feared would be criticized as a raw material.

I'm truly encouraged!

Delatrophy said...

Yes, there is indeed something very deep and fascinating about this poem. First, it is the harbinger of all other elegiac poems posted here now on OGOV in memory of our late President Atta Mills. As it is now plain for all to see, it appears this poem acts as a foreshadow of the sad events we witnessed last week in Ghana, and could as well be re-titled "The Last Words of Uncle Atta Mills". Perhaps, SP Darko Antwi is not only a prolific poet but also a real prophet as well. Yes, after all; - "A poet is a wordsmith with prophetic visions of pent-up emotions alloyed in the sublimal vaults made explicit on the grim tufts of reality" Perhaps re-reading this poem all over again after the death of late President Atta Mills, I guess one would conclude that the Asomdwehene left us with some parting words after all, and as such would be taken very seriously.

Well done, Snr. Poet Darko Antwi. Great job!

Dominic Arituo said...

Mr Dorko Antwi, when I first discovered OGOV I was welcomed by, "The Dream Child" by Kwadwo Oteng Owusu followed by your poem, "The last words of Aunt Araba". After reading “The last words of Aunt Araba" and being a poet, I suspected that a famous person was going to pass away, because I know such poems are not born in vain, and they are born by those with the spirit of poetry (I mean gifted poets).


The sequence of these two poems is very important, in the sense that the living dream but the dead don’t. So we hear Aunt Araba who forsaw that her dreams were soon to be terminated by death, pouring her heart out to those who form part of her dreams.


Everyone, like Aunt Araba is aware that they will one day die but no one knows when…hence, the poem begins “I am going.../when…” her unreached dreams start with “tell…” in the third line of each stanza except the sixth stanza which starts with “invite…”, and the eighth stanza which starts with “be…”. Aunt Araba’s dream ended with “be…”


How did I know?
Let’s take a look at the last stanza, “I am going.../ah... oh... oh...”. Here it is clear that we cannot see the “when…” that begins the second line of each stanza. Why can’t we find the “when…”? We can’t find it because Aunt Araba is aware that she is “going” that very moment…hence the lament “ah…oh…oh…”


Aunt Araba ending with the “be…” is very important as everyone wants their good dreams to become a reality or “be”. Our Moslem brothers and sisters believe that Allah created with the word “be” and we see this in Arts. First, you dream about it then you tell it to “be” by creating it.


Now let’s supposed that every third line of each stanza begins with “tell…” maintaining position of the eight stanza that starts with “be…”, the sequence will be as follows:

“tell…/“tell…/“tell…/“tell…/“tell…/“tell…/“tell…/“tell…/“be…

Why would I want the third line of the sixth stanza to begin with the “tell…” as usual when the author decided to use “invite…”? We normally settle disputes before we get along. Many individuals have been poisoned as a result of land disputes; it is not normally taken lightly. The amazing thing is that the poet suspected the confusion that the sixth stanza created. Let’s hear him:

Interviewer: How did this lines of the poem start for you? Did one particular stanza come first, and then the poem grew from there, or?

Darko Antwi: Since it was the foremost idea to drop into my mind, the first stanza was certainly first on the draft. And I thought it worthwhile to maintain its position. The only stanzas I kept shifting places are the 6th, 7th and 8th, as the script progressed.


I will like to conclude with the poet’s own words, "When two or three lines in a poem stick to your memory, when you love to read that poem again and again, then that poem has some qualities that cannot be measured.” Thank you Mr Darko Antwi.

Darko Antwi said...

Dominic it's strange that this discerning appreciation of yours has gone unnoticed. It's not too late for me to give you a handshake - for your brilliance has encouraged me. So much!

Also, I'm blown away by the attention given to the study of the OGOV archive, to the breadth of quoting my comments under the 2011 Favorite Poems. Your presence is very much felt.

Thanks a lot, Dominic.