Friday Poem

The First Circle


the flat end of sorrow here
two crows fighting over New Year’s Party
leftovers. From my cell, I see a cold
hard world.


So this is the abscess that
hurts the nation –
jails, torture, blood
and hunger.
One day it will burst;
it must burst.


When I heard you were taken we
speculated, those of us at large
where you would be
in what nightmare will you star?
That night I heard the moans
wondering whose child could now
be lost in the cellars of oppression.
Then you emerged, tall, and bloody-eyed.

It was the first time
I wept.


The long nights I dread most
the voices from behind the bars
the early glow of dawn before
the guard’s steps wake me up,
the desire to leap and stretch
and yawn in anticipation
of another dark home-coming day
only to find that
I cannot.
riding the car into town,
hemmed in between them
their guns poking me in the ribs,
I never had known that my people
wore such sad faces, so sad
they were on New Year’s Eve,
so very sad.

by Kofi Awoonor
from Poetry International