It's Daybreak - Darko Antwi

Kofi, it's daybreak
And the Al-bafoons are long gone
Those who are neither cobblers
Nor farmers nor hunters

Kofi, Kofi, Kofi...
Kofi, Kofi, oh Kofi...
Kofi, Kofi, Kofi... wake
Kofi, Oohhh Koo-fi

Daavi has served you coffee
And Esinam has come to greet you

Kofi, it's daybreak
And the Al-racoons are no more
Those who are neither moslems
Nor christians nor atheists

Kofi, Kofi, Kofi...
Kofi, Kofi, oh Kofi...
Kofi, Kofi, Kofi... wake
Kofi, Oohhh Koo-fi

The newspaper vendor is at the gate
And Kwoku will soon be here for draught

Kofi it's daybreak
But we shall allow you this sleep
This long long sleep
We shall allow, we shall allow
Sleep well!

Darko Antwi is a long-time 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.


Delatrophy said...

“It’s Day Break “by Darko Ankwi is quite a fascinating poem. Snr. Poet Darko Ankwi in his characteristic “interactive dirge” manner has finally added his own voice to the Kofi Awoonor tribute series.

This poem fascinates me because of the way it features some observable traits in all dirge poetry of all great poets. Interactive in the sense that, just like Awoonor’s dirge poetry, “It’s Day Break” by Snr. Poet Darko Ankwi eulogizes the dead with conversational tone “interacting” with the subject of his poem as if he is still alive abd so waiting for a response. The fact that- the expected response did not surface in the poem answers a rhetorical question in its own, and threats the dead as forever living. In this regard death is likened to sleep from which the poet tries to wake up the dead, who is not actually dead – but sleeping. Very brilliant.

“Kofi it's daybreak
But we shall allow you this sleep
This long long sleep
We shall allow, we shall allow
Sleep well!”

Treating the dead as if it is still alive in this poem hints at immortality of the soul as significantly exhibited in most literature of the African cosmology.

“Daavi has served you coffee
And Esinam has come to greet you”
“The newspaper vendor is at the gate
And Kwoku will soon be here for draught”

The motif of “Sleep” alongside “Daybreak” in this poem is purposely and brilliantly alluded to as the final destination of all mortals regardless of different the religious cum socio-cultural backgrounds. The daybreak is for all to "wake up" and know that fanatic religious affinities that breed terrorism that has no regards for the sanctity of life shall all someday end in eternal sleep. Death comes to all mortals indiscriminately and has no regard for nobody, including:

“Those who are neither moslems
Nor christians nor atheists”

Knowing very well how SP Darko holds the late Prof. Kofi Awoonor in high esteem it is no wonder he somehow set the pace for this tribute series in the first place - in his previous comments: -

“...As we reflect on the figures, and imagine the tally of names behind our inspirational histogram, let us remember one inclusive gentleman who would forever be added to chapters of individual stories, and the celebration of the One Ghana One Voice magazine. Let us remember Kofi Awoonor.”

I am also very happy that this simple suggestion has truly set the ball rolling. In the same vain, it was not quite long ago when our own Prince Mensah made such a similar observation; but little did we know that not quite long after his moving poem “The Final Storm (A Dirge for Chinua Achebe) “his suggestions will yet mark another reason to take his words seriously:

“I think we should not allow our great men to die before we eulogize them. I think we should write praise poetry for them while they live so they will get a foretaste of how they will be remembered.”

Well, I also think that we should merge our dirges with praise poetry into a fine tapestry of intricate literary mesh that will mark the beginning of our own generation when the pace-setters of African literature are all gone down memory lane. That way, progeny would take us seriously during and after our lifetime on the stage of life.

I have come to regard OGOV as a veritable pool that is not only nurturing new generation of Ghanaian poets of repute, other poets of African and Non-African descents but also for its laying of strong all-encompassing foundation for past, present and future literary databank, in what SP Darko captures well – “Incredible forensic move! OGOV has the smartest sense of direction, that gathers the genetic foot and finger prints of the Ghanaian poet. It's going to be some useful stats for our records.”

In this regard I can only add my voice to his “Well-done, Rob and team.”

Prince Mensah said...

I do agree with Dela's take on Darko's piece, together with the extensive exposition on the relevance of what we are doing here at One Ghana, One Voice. It is not only the poems that stand as our gifts to posterity but it is also in expositions such as Dela's. African literary criticism is a must. The poems are as equally important as their critiques. We must own the definitions of our existence.

I love the fact that most comments on OGOV are not just passing comments. They are insightful illuminations on the poems in question. I believe that most of our art and craft are honed by the constructive critiques we get here. I believe in the cross-pollination of creative minds(iron sharpens iron, as the Book of Proverbs has it). OGOV would become a place, where, in the distant future, people will refer to as the great electronic library of African (if not, specifically, Ghanaian) poetry.

We are on to something beyond our wildest dreams. Let us not stop working hard.


Darko Antwi said...

I wish I could do a word-for-word response. But the espouse of MSP Dela and Prince has brought me to my wits end. I believe in the wisdom of these our resourceful peers. Now, I'm convinced that there is more to be learnt from OGOV. Thank you gents.

Just to clear the air about my lead to the tribute. I had only heard an authoritative whisper of a tribute under consideration, by the time of my pausing to ask for Awoonor's remembrance. Somehow instinctive, but certainly coincidental to the final outcome.

The poems coming in so far is incredible. Enjoying the mixture of elegy and eulogy.

Julian said...

Darko, I don't even know where to start as Prof himself would have applauded this great piece. He must be reading this in ecstasy knowing That he left behind an immaculate generation who have learnt so much about poetry and can hold the fort in his absence. Well done and 21 Gun salute for this incredible piece

Delatrophy said...

SP Darko, it is indeed touching how in your poem eulogizing the late Prof. Kofi Awoonor, one can see all the frustration neatly hidden beneath the somber tone used. Death as we all know it is an inevitable phenomenon that comes to us at the end, whether we like it or not… but it is a different thing for one to die naturally at an old age than to be brutally murdered like the way Prof. Awoonor was killed.

“The Al-bafoons
And the Al-racoons”

The clever play on words as a perfect rhyme really enthralls me, as a form of directing your frustration on his killers. Indeed for their heinous act, the senseless killers deserve every foul name we can think of. Yes, in life we naturally tend to vent our frustrations on our apparent tormentors, including even sometimes shaking our fists in anger at God; in some baffling circumstances which is all understandable from the human point of view. Perhaps no amount of consolation would be enough to really atone for this great havoc done to us all. I wish to console us all, including those who may be reading our poems to take heart, my God grant us all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Rest in peace, Prof.

In relations to that, I pray that the terrorists would be gone for good, this time not in relation to the poem in trying to wake up the dead but in regards to the rumours going round. We really need God’s intervention to protect us from these terrorists. If all I read on the internet about the intelligence gathered is true, then may God help us all. From Kenyan intelligent sources, the terrorists are even planning to attack our dear country. I just hope that it is all a ruse because it doesn’t make any sense to me at all why they would attack such a peaceful country as ours.