Kojo Owusu

Rookie - 0 Points (1984 / Ghana)

The Fugitive - Poem by Kojo Owusu

I am desperate for the propitiation
Chant to be chanted by the priest
To absolve me from an infernal scourge.
At early dawn, I made my sudden
And foreboding appearance at the ancient
Threshold of the mystic courtyard.
Call the priest and his acolytes, let them
Invoke the gods for leniency, let them
Improvise the ritual dance and offer
Sacrifices, enter the shrine and agitate
The vigil, let the pot be filled with blood
And be sprinkled on the way to
The sacred cave lest I defile the decent
Folks. Under this eaves of a crumbling
Hut I entreat you to call the priest to
My aid. I am tormented and bewildered
By my portentous and harrowing past.
Look at me now in tatters, bruised
My legs rugged, my hair matted,
I shudder and tremble when speaking
I have wandered and wandered and
Have still not encountered fulfillment
I have descended into the underworld
Of futility, I have plunged into labyrinths
Impenetrable – I have walked in a strange
Land. The world is not beautiful.
Ocean of despair I have sailed
And crossed long interminable tunnel
Of disillusionment, I have walked
On fields strewn with decayed
And poisonous ideas and thoughts.
Lonely men have varnished from
The sound of my approaching footsteps
Recluses have deserted their secret
Caves and groves when I tried
To consult them.
My journey has neither an epic proportion
Nor mysterious charm around it.
There is no sacred halo around it.
It was a meaningless and inexplicable quest
Now I stand beneath the eaves
Of a crumbling hut trembling,
Uttering words scarcely audible.
Long and futile absence
I entreat you to call the priest to
Redeem me. Beneath this fallen hearth
In the spell of the dawn presaging
The unknown. In this infirm hut
I remember when my heart longed
To wander, to walk in an invisible dream.
I woke up early in the morning and
Strolled the courtyard – my heart seething
With strange desire. The dance in the arena
Did not please me anymore
A walk to the river was painful
I thought the chirrups of the birds
And the gurgling of the stream will
Balk my desire – I was not delighted
By the lithe and the rhythmic gait
Of the maidens with enchanting breasts
And golden gourds on their heads
With shimmering clothes wrapped
Around them just above the breast
Leaving the shoulders bare.
The horizon was dull and tinted
With a languid hue, so with rebellious
And secrets thoughts flitting through
My mind I deserted the hallowed hearth.
I deserted the ancient courtyard
I left the threshold to be treaded
By strange and unfamiliar feet.
And at early dawn I have made my
Sudden and foreboding appearance
At the ancient threshold of the mystic
Courtyard and shivering beneath the
Crumbling hut. I implore you to
Call the priest and his acolytes
To invoke the gods for clemency
To perform rituals, to offer sacrifices
To the gods to absolve me from
My unpardonable sacrilege.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, December 12, 2005

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