Yesternight of all, you were the first man of the state
Who undertook national assignments without any time waste
But today – too dark a day to date or even commemorate
You lie so still to signal that your limbs have refused to pulsate
Reluctant to believe you’ve embarked on a journey of no return we kept wake
And prayed to the Omnipotent, the Architect of this stage
To help you battle and liberate
Yourself from the master of the dark world’s cold embrace
In ample anguish around the chamber we parade
to gawp helplessly at the lifeless comrade
Who had responded to the sinister call with speedy rate
Only to be branded the late…
Because unripe fruits plucked, we wish not alliterate
Your departure has brought big brains beside the table to arbitrate
The social cankers devouring the unfortunates.
your kinsmen soaked in streams of tears lie prostrate –
Your sixty-eight years as a stranger here they meditate
in the farm He ambled to the heart
and reaped where He sowed not
Annoyingly, the most commercial was what He cherished
and stole it prematurely as He relished
and forwent the rotten remnant
which has no hope – He left us redundant
At the farthest corner stands your rib rumbling aloud
And wishes to slumber in your meager crib but not allowed –
Happy days with you together forever she had yearned
But your untimely departure rendered her stomach churned.
Yonder also stands your monument in the dark
nobody sees him smile except his incessant barks
in the kitchen where he stands soberly and sigh
and shudder to think whether that fruitful tree will reappear to lie
Since in difficult times, his side you always stood by
As a promising star – but on that dark Tearsday, you failed to sound him goodbye
One thing slumbers in their hearts as brothers
That anything beyond their strengths, on you they bother
But now that in their waters, there is not that rock of ages
Forever will the floods of life take them hostages
One thing slumbers in their hearts as sisters –
Your immense love for them exceeds their masters’
Whence should they seek to be pampered?
Now that you have sublimed from them unprepared
From our company in no time did you slip
With cheerful face, but no sound was blurted from your lip
Comrade! Water in our palms we perceived you
But negligence made us open our fingers to let you pass through
Now in vain we’ve dug the ground deep to search for you
But profoundly have you sipped through.
On the vast desert we impatiently wait to welcome our lost entity
Forgetful you have traveled into eternity
Our blooming friendship, you hastily withered to swell it not
Nevertheless! Deep in our memory we will screw it with bolt and nut.
With us so soon you rode
Shouldered high in your unseen palanquin
To your unpaid for rented abode.
In all, a thing will forever distinguish you a king
That cheerful were your followers not
As they pondered over the meal soon gotten by mother earth
The procession of red and black thick vegetation
Marks-enD your worldly and ghostly occupation
Bold heart to keep the stream, we trod your threshold
But an hour to part company, no longer could we hold.
When the time came, our backs to you were turned
And we were very sorry to have breached the pledge we made
That we will go with you to wherever you go; come what may.
The horn was sounded
But even goodbye was too late for you to wave us
Since in a flash, you were chauffeured
Along to the land you have no idea of –
Just as you came, so have you departed from this world
You brought nothing, so you went with nothing.
Upon your soul, Your Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills
We all with one accord pray not to be condemned into pieces
But you may swim in eternal peace.
Till we meet again
Goodbye and fare thee well
Is all that we have for you.
Nathaniel Osei is a Ghanaian poet.