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Opinions of Saturday, 10 October 2009

Columnist: Abdul-Korah, Sundong

Barbering Bawku’s Baldhead

This write-up was triggered by the number and frequency of ambulances that arrived at the Bolgatanga Hospital with victims of the Bawku conflict during my visit last mid-year.

BARBERING BAWKU’S BALDHEAD

By Sundong Abdul-Korah

Night and the dark and the clouds of night The world’s confusion and trouble So ripe in this blessed but loveless savannah town Be gone!

The morning star appears, glittering in gold But as it smiles to brighten our hopes Bloody rivers come drowning the already disconcerted So peace is no longer at peace in this loathsome town And hope so elusive within her boundaries

A zone saturated with blood-sucking ticks and aimless madmen Where guns explode successively and unceasingly Soon some combatants and the innocent lay prostrate, bleeding, dying Little children tremble with fear; their hearts ceasing to pump

Once a magnificent fountain of peace and love Where inhabitants mingled and melted in weddings and funerals Alas, blazing football- eyes wish death for lovely neighbours Again night arrives with loyal darkness And healthy handsome bodies lie scattered Like a devastated glasshouse Sucking babies quiver off the poor breasts of terrified mothers

In this wretched siege of battering days Love, mercy and constancy is dead Peace may seem, but forever a fugitive The apostolic birds that used to sing hymns Are now cold and weeping For their feathers have been blown off by gunpowder The wounded cow with belligerent fleas all over her festering body Has her therapy-tail chopped off by machetes Now all the civilized bees have gone wild Vowing never to produce honey but painful stings Lions and lambs gather courage and come together in harmony Mocking and teasing this coldness and brutality of a civilized society

Only falling tears feed the hungry wailing children Just who has sown this poisonous seed in this fertile soil Whose fruits continue to poison the innocent youth? Creating a permanent divide between soul and body The evil snake that plotted this city’s fall May her three tongued head Be crushed by an obese woman’s sharp heel

After another peaceful negotiation which conjured forgiven spirits Soon, same poisonous seeds spring and luxuriate Into yet another angry tree Whose fruits explode like bombs Maiming innocent children, even medical staff And splitting pregnant mothers like wood

As the bloody town diminishes into a wealthy cemetery As thunderous guns thrust deep to mould dead mounts Bombs are tossing tombs, tormenting corpses to bobble in violent anger Who threaten to resurrect and retaliate Yet in such relenting dew of lamentations Over death’s dishonorable diurnal and nocturnal triumphs No Wiseman takes counsel of some wiser head Now truth remains elusive in every shepherd’s tongue Like captives drifting away in a sea of doubt All conjurors and sorcerers have failed to see the approaching hell The hoe that’s used to cultivate the land to feed the hungry Is now busy digging graves The land that’s used for cultivation Is fast becoming the cemetery’s wealth Bok, once the roses and lilies of great savannaland You’re but a lonely sand dome crowned in shame Lost before a thousand-million glittering stars

Is this a fitting tribute you pay to your great ancestors? Are horror-melodies the best to console your aging and ailing parents? As the aged offer prayers to sleep and wake no more Your progeny is shackled and cast into the darkest pit Because as men copy their parents with precision Your children will push evil over good Until death fetches flames upon their rebellious heads

But remember Rome was not larger at birth Rather, she had wisdom and judgment War and peace were prudently used To enhance a position that never weakened She mingled victory with mercy; her enemies became allies Belligerent warriors, where’re the powerful dinosaurs Who thumped rocky earth into powder?

Even the stars must set before they rise again That’s why the moon wanes before it waxes Yet with every shooting star, you shoot with excitement These murderous bells that hurt heaven’s heart Also anger the dead buried in deep seas

But a man is always held in high esteem Only when he has learnt from misfortune This spring of wisdom, all collapsed empires drank not This microcosm where witches and madmen once lived together peacefully Is but a strange town Where the hearts of worshippers are colder than their beliefs You spend the seventh day as though your God were dead Tired, petrified and hungry Children no longer believe their parents’ swaggering For the departure from normality is too severe

Deeply frustrated over your unceasing belligerence Peacemakers are dreaming to return home For their lonely families are down with fever Neighbours cry because you have smeared their reputation Yet the injured still hurl insults at each other Even as they are conveyed in same ambulance for treatment But can’t we do more than watch and weep over this calamity? Beautiful people lost in rediscovering immediate needs Don’t you know that he who doesn’t forgive has never loved? That she who never loves neither knows God nor fears him? Proud citizens of this forgotten town Will a man, who lives in misery Which he inflicts upon himself, ever escape it? As the world gets colder over your blazing brash Right there, witty men with black bile in their hearts Are still crueler than even offended Gods If good things ever come from bad, haven’t you learnt enough? Proud peacocks, where lays your pride now When all your beautiful pots lie shattered? A dignified king arrives, and you offer him zonkuom In a well-decorated broken calabash To smear his sparkling clothes Raked by bullets, your roofs now leak upon a drizzle

Perched on the savannah Was your city built by men carrying dirt? Maimed by your ghastly ghostly art You lack the strength to open the book that tells the future Great citizens of Bok, won’t you love again As your ancestors once taught you?

Regrettably fresh violent clashes And another curfew is slapped on the devil’s yard As the sun displays its dazzling beauty And as goats and sheep display their hilarious moments Right there, human beings are caged like destructive chimps

Great city, filled and sealed with bitter venom Whose outer walls are surrounded by peace What is the future of your school-less children?

Traumatized and weary, foreign antelopes are escaping From the near clutches of lions As they leave, can’t you hear them singing loudly Goodbye old friend, now a willful monster? The snail and the turtle also fled with spaceship speed Truth and beauty lie buried before dreadful dead donkeys

As peace returns to war-torn zones so rich in limping limps Vultures are descending on your carcasses with guiltless dirty claws As school children wait nervously for fees You exchange famished cattle for components of terror All to the pride of cemeteries Won’t you heed to Allah’s loving verses Which you recite everyday without a speck of belief? Each morning, your peaceful neighbours are rudely awakened To sirens of ambulances carrying the dead and the dying From your bloody yard

Intelligent people of this lovely nation Where’s your intelligence now? Award-winning peace brokers Won’t you deploy your excellent skills? Powerful pious prelates who prayed over the dry Akosombo dam And water came gushing and drowning Won’t you place your holy hands over this oblong triangle? Prominent Chiefs in heavy Smocks and sweeping Kente clothes Polished politicians in immaculate designer suits Ordained by the master schemer Is this trouble weightier than you weigh? Poor citizens, your wealth and pride are now in coma And your luxuriant head is plastered with the vulture’s baldness

Ah, here comes the Mighty Another John the Baptist prophesizes To work on this notorious head now shining in disgrace Hey, dare not scream when the razor touches your bare skull! For suffering compels our loyalty

Within the dark glare of Bawku torches, more murders occur But an ancestral home needs our presence and our tears For it is sinful to neglect ruin already compounded by neglect Now is the time after the fires have cooled To rebuild, even if we are rebuilding only shepherds’ huts Pitiful naked citizens of dwindling worth Are you ready now to be clothed and sheltered? Farewell thee, the forcefully departed To the trembling and troubling remainders Don’t you know life is for a living and never for destruction?

Only yesterday, a Kusasi and a Mamprusi on my wretched mat Loving and conferring such a permanency on posterity O Christ, having escaped out of anger On your return to this mischievous lonely crowd Like your holy flogs in the ‘deTempled’, be lenient no more! Holy Prophet, isn’t it time to flog vampires So well- versed in your verses, yet who display blatant disloyalty? Great ancestors of this forgotten land Wake from your silent sleep and see If this is the heaven you bequeathed to your progeny

One should not laugh at the misfortune of others But it’s said that great ancient Cosa was abandoned When rats invaded the place Oh Heavens, won’t you show your compassion once more By raining down rats and bees to their pleasure?

Warring, worried and worrying souls of blurred vision Why spare chimps to skin your neighbour? Angry misguided children, I dare warn Let good old Bawku shine once more so that No poet could ever do justice to her beauty Measured in absolute, immaculate peace and love

Night and the dark and the clouds of night The devil’s pleasure and wealth Be gone! Unyielding warriors, these tearful dirges of orphans Whose fathers and mothers lie wailing in the cemetery Won’t you heed? Great citizens in desolate peace Did howling souls hear you say Goodbye Holocaust?