Elinam Rhapsodist

The Forgotten Civilization - Poem by Elinam Rhapsodist

Tell me of Timbuktu
Remind me of how gold shone in the sun
Tell me of Songhai
Tease my nostalgic senses of how Mansa Musa died
Tell me of Egypt
Remind me how pyramids evolved
Tell me of Ghana
Evoke the euphoria that surrounded the birth of Yaa Asantewaa
Tell me of Kenya
Remind me of the bond that exists among the Masai
Tell me of Rwanda
Enlighten me about how the Hutus and Tutsis lived like brothers
Tell me of South Africa
Recount to me how black became game
Tell me all
Tell me how Africa became Orwell's farm
Remind me how the pig became King
And how the pig ruled this mighty continent
If Africa is a woman,
I would call her compassion
Glowing, beaming with ingratiating pomposity
Taking care of her own in the most exotic way
The tapestry of hospitality weaving intricate webs of love
Water gushing from the Volta; stretching all the way to Gambia
River Niger to Congo; River Congo to Orange
Limpopo to Zambezi; Nile the longest of all
Whiles the baobab rules like a King
Cocoa soothes the tongue and shea soothes the skin
African serenity with touch prosperity
Then they happened
In the name of religion
In the name of salvation
A call to prayer and a Bible in hand
A bible in hand and Africa they took
Massacre of all that was beautiful
Bloody hieroglyphics telling stories of ancestors
Sleepless nights and haunted days
Then it stopped for a moment
Freedom had come at last
Freedom to be fought for in the cotton fields
Of a land doomed for destruction
With bloody eyes and blistered feet
We were crunched under boots like flies
Speared in the chest like game
Burnt on the stake like goats
Where then lies the Africa we dreamt of
Of blooming coffee trees and tantalizing grapes
Of sweet cow milk and abundant sunshine
Where is the Africa of free men?
Trading salt for pepper
Love for love
The blatant savages tricked as out of our heritage
Took our birth right and spat in our face
Yet we still treat them as equals
I wonder where then civility lies
Does it lie with oppressor or the oppressed?
I shall still love my Africa dear like a woman
Close to my heart, to my chest
To my loins like a gird
It is all we have left
So let me die in the streets of Timbuktu
Not in the lanes of Harlem
Left to rot and fill the air with evil stench
So let me die in the streets of Timbuktu
Buried in soils of civilization
And germinate a new Africa

Poet's Notes about The Poem


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, January 13, 2013

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