So you are gone.
Gone, you too are gone.
I bid you carry a message,
you who once asked Agosi to do the same.
Have you seen them yet?
Have you met Agosi?
Kpeti and Kove?
What of your namesake Nyidevu?
How do they?
Tell them not to rest easy,
For Kpeti’s great household is not rebuilt.
The fence still lies un-mended.
The cowards have grown bolder,
they who never dared look Kpeti in his face.
Ah! What is this?
See what treatment you have meted out to us,
our hearts heavy with sorrow and yet you ask us hold our tears.
Oh! Nyidevu Kofi,
how can you beat a child and grudge him his portion of tears?
Death has made war on our house again.
For Nyidevu Kofi himself is no more.
The new trees we tried putting up in the fence
have been eaten by termites again.
Now the crow and vulture are united gluttons.
See how they hover.
Do not idle.
Haste and tell our lot.
Let these strangers desist the constant gallivanting of our portion.
Ah! What jest?
Dare you laugh.
Nyidevu, you laugh at us?
Well as may.
You whose strides are like giants’
how can we match you,
whose gigantic strides still line
So now you know,
thus your grin.
You have looked Dzogbese Lisa in the face.
You know it all.
The sharps of the forest
where return seemed impossible
and pushing forward was tricky.
That all was jest.
You, who had the power to conquer all these.
And the chameleon faeces.
You are clean now I can see.
Somehow you have managed it.
You have cleaned now and it is gone.
Returned from the world’s extreme corner,
back home now.
Sitting in row with the eminent.
Yours was by dint of hard work and not luck.
The rain shall beat you no more,
The sun has lost hold over you.
You have gathered the firewood
of this world, you who took heart.
True, you were too good for
You have made your destination.
The good traveller.
Your debts all paid.
You have no cause to weep.
Gallant sons to wield the guns,
pretty daughters to wail.
And yet you wish it otherwise.
You have gone beyond,
rest well but do not idle,
lest the walls remain broken
and Kpeti’s household remains unmade.
Kin and brothers gather in salute.
Rest well Nyidevu Kofi Awoonor.
Etornam Agbodo is a Ghanaian poet and past contributor to One Ghana, One Voice.
This poem is part of our series of poems in memory of Kofi Awoonor. You can learn more about Awoonor and the series here. If you have a poem in memory of Kofi Awoonor, please send it to us at oneghanaonevoice(at)gmail(dot)com.