Days of Christmas
5-7 5-7 5-7 5-7-7
image of my child
salivates at nothingness
this drives me crazy
to put more energy in
fanning the fire
that will cook only water
to bathe off the grime
from scavenging on the heap
behind the MP’s mansion
it is Christmas eve
I can hear the chiming bells
last year the priest fed the kids
and winked at my girl
It is a no go this year
church charity stinks
but dare I reserve some pride
charity has lots of face
the Harmattan breeze
biting, burned and cracked my skin
charcoal a fiery red
The water now at a boil
waiting for the kids
to return to nothingness
now, what will they bring?
Freshly baked cakes, brown as earth,
bottles of coca-cola
with no expiry date or
stale crackers from yesteryear
moldy leg of a chicken
dry as the hag I’ve become?
Or my brand of emptiness?
Mama! There she is
dark skin glowing, defying
the harsh Harmattan
mockery of perfect skins.
her teeth flashed in smile
I swear the gleam in her eyes
made the Christmas lights
in the MP’s mansion pale.
now, she is me all over
(envoy or tanka)
she raise tiny hands
then I see the envelope!
ah, Harmattan breeze
her long tresses billowing
my husband’s gift waves at me
Copyright © Celestine Nudanu 11/12/15
Done for Carpe Diem.
a mother gathers
her unsold melons
rumbling stomachCopyright © Celestine Nudanu 13/05/15 I appreciate your patience with me as I catch up on your blogs. Thanks a million! Shalom
Done for Carpe Diem. As we celebrate the Season may we spare a thought for the homeless and hungry kids!:-) Wishing all my lovely blogger friends a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. 🙂
behind Christmas tree
hungry eyes peep for a bite
silent bells at homeCopyright © Celestine Nudanu (24/12/14)
I appreciate your patience with me as I catch up on your blogs. Thanks a million! Shalom.
in great thuds
of dreaded whispers
and alien chiming bells
but see, that hollow-eyed child hears only discordance
and the gaseous emissions of hunger born in the bowels of a hearth long gone coldCopyright © Celestine Nudanu 11/12/13
I appreciate your patience with me as I catch up on your blogs. Thanks a million! Shalom
This week’s Ligo Haibun prompts are The sun or Childhood memory of summer camps. Well, since I’ve never been to a summer camp I opted for the first prompt 🙂
She laid awake, her mind refusing to succumb to sleep. Shivering, she pulled the cover cloth tighter round her body, casting a disgusting look at her inert husband. His snore could wake the child they had buried only the previous week.
In the next room, her other four children were fast asleep; the night before she had fed them the last cornmeal. There was no more food and that meant only one thing. The fights would resume in earnest. Outside, the rain continued to fall with urgency and consistency, desperate in its bid to blot out much-needed rays. Sighing, she contemplated her lot. Will the sun ever blaze in her life?hollow eyes stare mirror her desperation Dying embers
Today my small Eighth stone is a bit long and in the form of a story prompted by Susan Daniel’s post. Please, humour me.
I was quite little when my mother narrated this story to me. “There was once a poor widow with three children. One evening there was nothing to eat at home. Her children were hungry but she had nothing to give them. Unable to bear their woeful looks anymore, she lighted the hearth and put a pot of water on the fire. When it boiled she collected some stones and put them in the pot and covered it. By now the children had started to cry, their stomachs growling.
“My children, I am cooking some food for you. I know you love yams so I am boiling yams for you. Have patience, Soon the yams will be ready to eat”
Their crying stopped and soon, with hopes of having food to eat, they were smiling.
“Fan the fire for so the yams will cook faster.” she urged them.
They happily took turns in fanning the fire and they could actually smell the wafting aroma of the boiling yams. This seemed to energise them and they worked harder at the fanning. After a while, the children grew impatient and restless
“Mother, are the yams not cooked?”
“A little more time, my children and we will soon have our meal. Keep fanning the fire.”
The fanned and fanned till their arms ached and still the yams were not cooked. Finally exhausted and immune from the gnawing hunger, the children fell asleep behind the hearth.
When I heard this story, my initial reaction was that the widow was cruel. But my mother said to me. “Think about it, Afua.”
And then it hit me. Little as I was then, I knew my mother was teaching me a lesson in gratitude. Here was a poor widow with nothing to give her children but ‘stones in soup’. And here was I, lucky to be provided with all my wants and still I grumbled and would throw tantrums anytime my mother asked me to wait until the end of month when she received her salary as a teacher to get me my needs.
I never forgot this story. And today, I do my best to inculcate gratitude, graciousness and thankfulness in my three boys.
Yes, Susan, stones can be cooked. 🙂
Author: Amma Darko
Publication Date: 2003 This Edition 2010
Publishers: Sub-Saharan Publishers
Reasons for Reading: Won the book in a Reading Relay organised by logo-ligi and also from my TBR
Faceless is the third novel written by Amma Darko, with an introductory essay by Prof. Kofi Anyhidoho. It tells of the death of Baby T, a child prostitute whose naked, beaten and mutilated body is found dumped behind a marketplace in Agbogbloshie, a slum area in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Details of the murder and Baby T’s life, are skilfully revealed by the author through two sources: one, Baby T’s younger sister Fofo, herself a street child; and through the rehabilitative intervention of an NGO, known as MUTE whose efforts through one of its Programme Officers, Kabria, unearth’s the proverbial can of worms that is the whole story of Faceless
Baby T’s story is heartbreaking. The third child of Ma Tsuru, Baby T is sexually abused by her mother’s live-in lover, Kpakpo. Confused and betrayed, she confides in a family friend and co-tenant, Onko, who takes advantage of her trust and rapes her. Baby T’s mother, Ma Tsuru, a tragic figure destroyed by the men in her life, is helpless to do anything. Weighed down by poverty, illiteracy and shame, she takes money from Onko, and matters take a drastic turn when Kpakpo, always on the loose for fast money manipulates Maa Tsuru and Baby T is sold into prostitution, to also appease his ‘guilt’. It seemed a nasty situation has been tidied up. But has it? Subsequent events, leading to the tragic death of Baby T proves otherwise.
Discrimination against women is a pervasive theme in the novel. Symbolically Baby T carries the sins of her parents, as well as those visited upon women in a society where culturally men are the masters and women bear the brunt of injustice; Maa Tsuru, Baby T’s mother whose husband abandons her penniless, as a result of a ‘curse’ is also a victim of discrimination whose hapless predicament is made more poignant by superstition, poverty and illiteracy. Thus though we have most of the male characters in the novel being murderers, rapists and irresponsible fathers, yet it is the female characters that suffer in a community of drifters and hustlers where characters like Poison, the local thug and Kingpin reign supreme.
Faceless is also the tragic, unfortunate story of a social canker in Ghana and indeed, the bane of developing countries, streetism in a metropolitan and urban environment; and a powerful social commentary and insight into the multifaceted issues underlying streetism, that is broken homes, rape, poverty, illiteracy AIDS, etc. She leaves no stone unturned in exposing and analysing the characters for their various behaviours and at the end, people like Maa Tsuru would receive thee sympathy of the reader and well some disgust, while Fofo would earn admiration for her brevity and courage in wanting to seek the truth and nothing but the truth behind her sister’s murder despite threats on her life from shady characters like Poison, who bring up only abhorrence. I do believe also that Kabria’and her children from the ‘urban posh’ environment are a foil to Fofo and her gang, the contrast created presenting a cruel view of the two worlds.
The fate of Baby T only strengthens her sister Fofo who, through the interventions of MUTE is given a new lease of life, so to speak. And the author seems to buttress this point further by quoting: “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.” John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)
Faceless is a well-researched novel, with the narration drawing on real-life events and places/slums like Agbogbloshie, Market, Makola Market, Korle-Gonno, and the all-notorious Sodom and Gomorrah (named after the Biblical city that God destroyed because of its numerous sins) of all which are in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. The characters are real and believable enough and though some, like Poison are stereotyped I do believe the portrayal of such characters highlight the predominant truth and nastiness of the whole streetism and gang phenomena
The writing is brilliant, with simple easy to understand Ghanaian English, interspersed with the vernacular, giving the reader a feel of the Ghanaian culture and what makes her tick. I particularly like the narrative style, which though straight forward draws the reader in, building tension as the author takes us through dizzying moments of intrigue and suspense to reveal the hidden truth behind Baby T’s murder.
I believe Amma Darko is a force to reckon with and I recommend this book wholeheartedly.
About the Author: She was born in Koforidua, Ghana, and grew up in Accra. She studied in Kumasi, where she received her diploma in 1980. Her first novel was published in a German translation in 1991, and was published in its English original in the Heinemann African Writers Series in 1995 as Beyond the Horizon. In between Beyond The Horizon and Faceless, we have The Housemaid, also published in both a German Translation and in the Heinemann African Writers Series in 1998. There is more than ample evidence that these three works constitute an important trilogy and must be read as such.
I appreciate your patience with me as I catch up on your blogs. Thanks a million! Shalom! 🙂