The Haunted Hunter - Poem by Kojo Owusu
A burdened shield on the sill,
And a vague prospect of the
Ancient courtyard tinged with
Wearied hounds. The walls are moldering,
The ancient spears and bows and
Arrows of my forbears, the leopard skin,
Even the mere skin is Awe-inspiring.
I killed that merciless predator twenty
Years ago. I see the fierce strange guns.
Their once unfailing triggers
Are rusting. They hung on the
Muddy wall defiant. They will not
Listen to my Command again as they
Are now enjoying the rugged caress
Of hoary rust. The desire to clutch
Them now and be master of the
Forest is dead, gone. Walking with
This staggering stick, painful.
The hearth, sheaves and the eaves
Above, the soft piercing cry
Of the children at the outhouses.
I am haunted by nightmares.
This thatched hut is very hot,
Embers of woe plague my soul.
It is true that all my children
Have grown up and my wife
Cruel death is hiding underground.
I pine, yet, my bones are weak
And I can hardly walk. This
Threshold my fathers left,
And the Nimrod vocation,
Hunting I mean. The oldest
Profession perhaps. I don’t know
If I am dreaming or not but I can see
Antelopes, hares, rhinos striding
Vast across my yard. I don’t want
To look at them now, even the
Thought of them nauseates me.
And the cage at the back of
My hut. I will free those creatures,
This hunting expedition has been
Awful. The forest is devoid
Of all those precious creatures;
The forest is no more green.
But I stopped hunting long ago
And why is it that horrifying
Thoughts and images
Of blood Still plague my mind?
Or could it be the souls
Of those gone far beyond the
Far horizon. But I don’t think my
Own people can punish me like this?
I quite remember I was given a gun
By strangers from the horizon,
I don’t actually know the date nor can
Remember the period now buried in the
Dark recess of my mind. They came
Looking for people to buy as slaves.
I was among those who raided the
Tiny villages. The strangers
Were morbidly intelligent, viciously
Crafty and witty. They made us to
Behave like beasts. We captured
Our own people and they bound
Them with iron. The iron chains
And bangles are still clanging
Awfully in my mind. Even as an
Experienced hunter, I just could
Not capture animals as he did to
My people. They are predators,
Destroyers. We sold our people
To them as slaves. But there is hope
Of survival, African renaissance
You may say, but not for me.
I am already old. The terrible
Encounter had made me almost
Mad. But I hear there is still
Slavery. Slavery of the mind,
The body and the soul. New forms
Of destruction, new methods
Of death. They are constantly
Revolutionizing the instruments
Of slavery. Like how my guns
Are now useless, then I use my
Mind to overpower the helpless
Animals. They are invisible raiders
Who will come to ravage your mind,
Body and soul. I fear them, the
Destroyers. Human beings cannot
Be predators and preys for all
The time. My strength of limbs
Are gone. I cannot kill animals
Again. I am old, tired. But the
Human hunters seem never tired.
They are always looking for
People to capture, to prey on them.
I am warning the children to be
Wary; but where are the children?
Are they already destroyed?
Well let me rest my ancient
Bones awhile, I will try to forget.
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