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Oswald pours '777 tears' for Prof Atukwei Okai

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
Prof Atukwei Okai
Prof Atukwei Okai

Poets all over the world express and share their emotions through their works. This is because poets believe in the power of words.

It is therefore not surprising that an award winning poet, Oswald Okaitei, decided to use poetry to pay tribute to the fallen Ghanaian literary icon, Prof. Atukwei Okai.

Prof. Atukwei Okai, a renowned Ghanaian poet, scholar, cultural activist and author died at the Korle Bu Teaching hospital on Friday, July 13, this year, following a short illness.

Until his death, Prof. Atukwei Okai was the Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers Association of Ghana.

He has won several awards and honours, both locally and internationally, including the national award of Member of the Order of the Volta.

As a literary giant, those in the literary arts industry since his departure have been pouring in their tributes through their works.


Oswald’s poem, titled: “777 Tears”, reflects the years and the months the literary colossus died as well as his works and contributions to the development of the Ghanaian literary arts industry.

He explains that he chose the “777 tears” as the title because the Prof. Atukwei Okai died at age 77 in the 7th month of the year.

Below is the poem

Poem:

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!

Five moon seasons now
Since Nyidevu traversed beyond the land of Kenyatta
& a quarter moon now,
Since Eyi too joined the old cast beyond the veil...

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!

&
Now, (like Garry) you
Also stare at us
From where the rains drop unto our heads, but with
Eyes, Sour & with 777 tears

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!

You who appeared at the roar of the iconic Fontomfrom;

We hail your fame
& chant loud your name!:

Blazer of dim-dawn torch
Master Weaver of words
Ancient sound of thunder roars
Master Cast of stage...

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!

You whose fame
Rises above the heights of ...manjaro’s Kibo
And stretches beyond
The length of our greatest Nile

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!

We roar
The iconic skins of the elephant on woods;

With plea
You we search to see
But with plea
You now we no more see!

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!

Oh! Blazer of dim-dawn torch
Master Weaver of words
Ancient sound of thunder roars
Master Cast of stage

— you have crossed
The veil of night & brought grief
To our hearts
— you have crossed
The veil of darkness & brought cloud of tears
Into our eyes

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!

Alas,
For your ‘stillness’, we can but not sleep:

Timbkutu cannot sleep,
& Aksum cannot sleep;
Alexandra cannot sleep,
& Mephes cannot sleep;
Thebes cannot sleep
& Carthage cannot sleep!

Fontomfrom!
Fontomfrom!!
Fontomfrom!!!


Your land, our land,
Is in funeral cloth—we are mourning:

It’s been five moon seasons
Since Nyidevu traversed beyond the land of Kenyatta
& been a Quarter moon
Since Eyi also joined the old cast beyond the veil

And now,
Like Garry, Warrior King, you are still
& also staring at us;
But with eyes, sour & hurling 777 tears at us!


Note:
Fontomfrom: A gigantic Ghanaian drum played at very important ceremony.

Oswald Okaitei (c) 2018
A young Ghanaian poet & playwright.
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