Literary Zone

Poetry: Across the time-zones of the soul, at the center of the earth

26 November 2010 at 03:07 | 1283 views

Editor’s note: This poem by Atukwei Okai (photo), Ghana’s leading poet, was dedicated to the national soccer squad of his country, the Black Stars, in the days leading to the 2010 World Cup fiesta in South Africa.

Across the time-zones of the soul, at the center of the earth

By Atukwei Okai, Accra, Ghana.

Across the multiple time-zones of the African soul
With a calabash of water
From the Blue and White Niles
From the Zambesi and the Victoria Falls,
O Creator of the drops of water that cover
Three-quarters of the surface of the earth
That give birth to our daily bread,
The valiant Azinian vuvuzelas

And I
Palanquinate and palanquinate
Your praises,
O Lord Almighty!
Allahu Akbar!

Before the tip of your boot
Touches the leathery scalp
Of the ball, in your mind,
Kick the ball into the sunset
Of songs-
We must read the mind
Of the oracle in the shrine
Of the Table Mountain
Where the ancestors chant:
“Remain in a telepathic network
With the instincts of your colleagues;
You cannot hide your nakedness
From those who will bury you!”

The predator drones the mind,
Released in to the air
Like Trojan balloons, shall not derail
Like dreams dragged
Within ‘Didier Drogba’s fleeting panting patriotic feet.
We sent you forth as lions
To roar at the top of your voice’
From the tip of your toes
Unto the ears of mankind

Shut your eyes,
And through your eyelids
Perceive the pyramids of the soul
Parading daydreams of the heroic
Across the plateau
Of the passionate leopard passes.
Asamoah Gyan, jumping
The unbelievers gun, you
Detonate in your kangarooyan
Flight, the feverish fears
Of the doubts-bedeviled fan.
Across the zig-zaggish time-zones
Of the soul
You kickstart tactical leathery
Rebellions upon the grass around
In full-booted opponent feet,
In a football Mardi-Gras,
After a window of opportunity
Like a Ghana Commercial Bank
Vault key
In the Bundestag-barricaded
Opposite goal post.

When our God blows his whistle
Into the four ears
Of the Tswane-Guanteng skies
Of Mandelaland,
You must, within your Hyena
Limbs, take a stand:
Within your rich and kingly reach,
Richard Kingson,
Be dominant in your resolve.
Be dominant in your domain.
Recall the ancestral mantra:
“You cannot shave a man’s head
In his absence !”

Curving your princely limbs,
Jumping into the ribcage of midfield,
As if to the beat
Of Royal Bafokeng drums in a Santonga bolero,
You dribble the deities
Out of their dream
And cause them to miss their boat.
Our spiritual blood-type has been
Typed out
Upon the forehead of the Tswane Skies
Recall it,
Take the strike and claim your glory.

And the downstrains here,
On the eternally green stadium grass,
Our feet are negotiating the
Landmines of the field,
Digesting the digitized text messages
From the minds
Of Kevin-Prince Boateng
And Andre Dede Ayew.
They scribble the signature tune of their toes
Upon the marveling Sowetan hearts
And the frolicking folks of Guateng.
Decorate the ground from which
You grew.
Celebrate the loopholes through
Which your legendary
Royal Bafokeng goals flew !

If you tear a ligament, do not wait
For any liniment.
If you pull a muscle, do
Not slack in your hustle.
Continue to die a little until
You hear the referee’s whistle.

Your mind and limbs were digitized
At the centre of the earth
The oceanic waters at Ghana’s Tema.
The Greenwich Meridian embraces
The Equator
At a point of a common navel.

Of the Africa soul,
With an ancestral libational calabash
Of colanuts and cowries
From the foam-seduced beaches
Of Madagascar
Cape-Town and Casablanca,
O Mighty Moulder of the Universe
And the Greenwhich Meridian,
Tightened like a single braces
For the trousers of the earth!
O crafty Creator of the Universe
And the equator,
Belting the earth !
O Creator of the generous sunlight
Which empowers the seed in the soil
And emboldens the embryo
In the woman’s womb.
The zealous African Vuvuzelas
And I

Palanquinate and palanquinate
Your praises
O Lord Almighty !
Allahu-Akbar !