Writers Project of Ghana

Mourning Our Dead
by Nana Frema Busia


The skies were painted black,
I was grieving, copious grief,
Weeping and weeping as though an entire nation were dead
I felt desolate, destitute in my soul
Fathers, mothers, children and even those yet to be born
Executed by ineptitude in the womb of doom
Charred to the bone, defaced, dehumanized, detonated in a blazing fury of fire
In a consummate moment of sadness, fragile humanity is consumed
Reduced to charcoal, searing deep holes in the hearts of the living.

The rain came down in unstoppable frenzy, pounding relentlessly for hours on end
As though a demon of vengeance had been set lose with a mission to destroy
Desperate soundings of thunder and shrieks of lightening confronted bewildered skies
Plottings of death hatched for decades were unleashed
To expose our hidden sins to the entire world out there
A contorted reckoning for undelivered promises
Of projects that have failed to see the light of day.

So we mourn our dead today, for three days,
The oppressive country that devours itself,
Eats up children and leaves bones charred in a debris of infinite pain
Yes, we weep copiously for our dead
Our intoned dirges criss-cross and penetrate the dawn
Like drawn daggers piercing the mundane skies
We shed tears in torrents with raw emotions of pain
Our frenzy of wails rise to a crescendo of woe
But the dead are still, unmoved by our cacophony of mourning
Our deluge of tears make no impression whatsoever
Our murderous conscience defies absolution.

Because our stars are black
Our skies are dark
Turbulent rains, without drains
Lay bare our dreaded fate
Poor souls have drowned or been scorched and are dead
Wasted in the floods of our neglect
As we shed tears of profound regret
Cleanse our hearts oh Lord our God
Galvanize our grief in a healing streak
Let development speak, for peace we seek.