Kris Atta Pappoe

Rookie (Akuse, Ghana)

Zadokeli - Poem by Kris Atta Pappoe


(For Gopi Menon & atta-Gyamfi Britwum)

His guile was limitless, so we found to our sorrow.
When he came, seemingly blind..
With his assistant eyes,
And an iron horse that always fell on its side,
We took pity on him, Galenku
The one with the sorrowful voice
And offered him, the coolest of water
That Nana could spare.
He spoke of a land far away on the stars
And a Deity who inspired love and fellowship.
His god he said created the world.
He was father to us all.
And he sang songs, so full of sorrow and pity
And love and sweetness.
Although we did not understand a word.
We sensed them.
And then He showed us The Book
By which he swore that His God will come
To us and make our lives better.

But he did not yet speak of the Cross.
Neither did he tell us there was a Place of Skulls
Where, in spite of the love He had for them,
They rejected him and nailed Him to the Cross.
Perhaps he did not want to tell us,
That, for this, they had to atone,
And wander the whole world, confessing,
That they were wrong and that indeed,
He was what he claimed to be.

We listened to his goodness,
And gave him the best shelter.
In our little Heaven.
Then he went back and returned.
And this time, it was different.
He did not tell us any stories anymore.
And no songs came from his lips.
He asked and asked, and demanded and claimed,
And walked where the gods forbade us,
Even Princes of the Royal Houses, to walk.
And when we raised our voices in protest,
He barred his teeth and pointed
his evil sticks at us.
Then he took what was forbidden to be taken.
And danced all the dances
Which our gods and Earth forbade.

He said we did not know
And that he has come to save us from ourselves.
When we raised our voices in anger,
Our Elders looked on as if this sacrilege
This travesty was not against them also.
We bade them silence the insolent one
And bid him go back the way he had come.
Back to the land on the Stars…
But in silent language they reprimanded us,
And made overtures of peace to the stranger.
Then we hung our tongues on our necks
In stony disbelief
We did not then know,
That our Elders have profaned our sacred oaths,
And that for mere pittances,
They had compromised themselves.
We could faintly smell the evil drink on their breath,
And remember the whispers of secret gifts
Delivered as the dead of night.
But we did not know that it had gone so far,
And that Asase Yaa’s children,
Have been sold by their own kith

Then our voices grew louder in anger
And we carried fire and blood to
Them and the traitors.
We cleansed the land that their
Treachery had polluted
And appeased our gods of their anger.

But scarce ten seasons passed,
When the ghost of the stranger returned.
In the middle of the night,
Before our dreams had even started,
They came in their numbers upon us.
Their sticks sang their evil songs.
And many fell, never to rise again.
When dawn broke,
Anoa was in ruins.
Her citadels burnt to the ground.
The sacred groves were on fire
And the Princes of her royalty
Were bound in chains.
The songs of sorrow rose in our throats,
Only to be stifled by shame and violence.
Then they marched us through our own lands,
Led by traitors who had sworn
Brotherhood with them
And deserted the way of our people.
They marched us,
The offspring of Asase Yaa,
The Royals of Anoa,
Far, far, far into the night,
The night of our race.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, December 7, 2009

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