I started reading Kofi Awoonor’s posthumous collection, The Promise of Hope, when this poem caught my attention

February 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

Although it’ll be another 2-3 months before I begin the Literary World Cup posts, I have been busy ordering some books to be read/reviewed as part of this.  One of them, a posthumous poetry collection by the Ghanaian poet/diplomat Kofi Awoonor (who tragically died in the September 2013 terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya), called The Promise of Hope:  New and Selected Poems, 1964-2013, was just released this month.  As I was reading the prefatory material, one poem of his, “Songs of Sorrow,” was singled out for being his most famous.  So turning toward the back of the book, I started reading it. 

What I found was a very poignant poem (you can read the full poem here).  This stanza in particular caught my attention:

My people, I have been somewhere
If I turn here, the rain beats me
If I turn there the sun burns me
The firewood of this world
Is for only those who can take heart
That is why not all can gather it.
The world is not good for anybody
But you are so happy with your fate;
Alas! the travelers are back
All covered with debt.

So much is contained within a few verses that I believe I will need to re-read and consider this poem at length over a period of days before I could even begin to comment on the themes/images present.  Truly a powerful poem.

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