Feature Article of Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

The Non-Returnees

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi
30th December 2011

This poem is written as a sequel to my write-up with the title, ‘ Why are many Ghanaians in the Diaspora’, which you can google at: columnist sakyi, kwesi atta. Enjoy reading it.

I weep for those who left
In search of the golden fleece
But never returned,
Even though they could be going
And going forever,
They should return,
For the earth is round,
Unless they went off in a tangent
Into outer space
After defying gravity,
By the supersonic velocity
Of their ascent,
Conditioned by their greed,
Jointly proportional to the golden fleece and their need,
And inversely as a square of the distance
Between their need and fleece,
Oh they went but never returned,
Those non-returnees!

I weep for those who went
But never returned,
Times were bad,
Jobs were hard to come by,
Everybody was sad,
And the economy was mad,
No economic panacea would work,
As everything went berserk,
The young, the old, all went in droves
Into the Diaspora,
They they got
And lured by a phantom mirage
Into a voluptuous vortex of exile,
With no option of an exit,
As if that was their remit

Again I weep for those who went
But never returned,
They kept going and going,
And never returned,
For some, they were chasing oil mirage,
Be it in Agege, Ghadaffiland or the Levant,
They went in search of silage
And became like the prodigal son in alien lands,
Increasingly increasing their mileage,
Between home and the golden fleece,
Yes they went
But never returned

Did you know,
It could have been a son or daughter,
A brother or sister,
A husband or wife,
A father or mother,
Whatever relation they were,
They went and never returned
To the hearth in the native land,
Sometimes you wonder
Why they abandoned you
After those tons and tons of pledges
In the dawn broadcasts,
When you shared intimate moments,
They simply went
And never returned!

Often and often you wondered
Could they be sleeping now in garages,
Or in abandoned containers and crates,
Or in cavernous concrete sewers
Under the mammoth Eko bridge
In prime Lagos,
Or are they dead from
A terrible disease,
A terrible road accident,
Or are they victims of some ritual murder,
Or framed-up charges and thrown behind bars at Kirikiri?
Yes, sometimes these bad thoughts come to mind,
When matters come to a bind,
And then, a flash of hope springs to mind!
Maybe, they are alive and well,
Happily married with children and bewitched!
You’ll never know,
They can sow their seeds, even in snow!

It s indeed a long story
Since they left
And not a letter,
Nor a word of mouth,
Nor an email
Nor a phone call
Has ever come through
After all these countless moons!
Or my, they put us soon into a swoon!
How can they, of all people,
Have short memories,
About the lovely kids left behind,
The sweet, loving spouses they promised to come for,
The quondam friends they vowed to write to,
The expectant relatives they planned to inundate with gifts,
The innumerable dependants they planned to settle down?
Yeah, they left us in the cold,
In search of the land of gold,
Ever since they left the fold,
We’ve since grown very old. They’ve put us on hold!

In case you the reader
Know of any non-returnee
Report ASAP to Non-returnee dot com,
Perhaps, you can light a spark
If you are as sweet as a lark
So that if we are in luck
We can go fetch them back,
The non-returnees who never looked back
Nor returned
After all, the golden fleece
Is here at home
So says the holy tome!

From my book, ‘Mulungushi Sounds’ – A Collection of African Poetry, 2007 pp 39-41’.