Africa / Ghana / PoeTori

Songs from the Battlefield

Songs from the Battlefield.

By: Nana Asaase, The Poetry Foundation, Ghana

I heard this song in the valley of death
Just before I lost my breath
We have come with you to the shores of eternity

Awe, bleoo!
We have brought our tears in baskets
To quench your fears on your journey into limbo
Anyemi, bleoo!
Your cock now crows at noon
But there is no one to wake and offer grain
Onua, due ne amanehunu.

Lend me a basket of sorrows to hold my tears
Give me splintered spears to pierce my fears
I have seen the dance of stained arrows
Of battered shields and vain-glorious medals
I bring mushrooms for the royal widows.

Mothers slain at the market of nine moons
Warriors fallen at the race of cowardly bullets
Wet clouds draped around youthful noon
Nights with dripping bloody moons.

If I killed the warmongers
Who sounded
the drums for the dance of death
Who drank
victory’s intoxication from innocent skulls
If I killed
the generals etched in history
who ordered the men to kill and be killed
to be forgotten on the day of dark glories

If I killed
the warriors
who killed and were killed
I would only foment a greater war

So I call this song from the estranged battlefield
Come let us melt our fears in one cauldron
To make the poultice to heal our war-torn world
Let us sing the universal love song
“Peace be still”

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