Writing about El Anatsui last week inspired me to look deeper into the art of Ghana. There is such beauty and heartache in much of the work originating from a place that clearly breeds both strife and success. This week I'd like to share with you a poem written by Abena Busia, a Ghanaian writer and professor. She's currently an associate professor of literatures in English, and of women's and gender studies at Rutgers University. The poem touches on the plight of women and their desire and persistence to be free from oppression, stereotypes, violence, and much more. Enjoy!
By Abena Busia
We are all mothers,
and we have that fire within us,
of powerful women
whose spirits are so angry
we can laugh beauty into life
and still make you taste
the salty tears of our knowledge-
For we are not tortured
we have seen beyond your lies and disguises,
and we have mastered the language of words,
we have mastered speech
we have also seen ourselves raw
and naked piece by piece until our flesh lies flayed
with blood on our own hands.
What terrible thing can you do us
which we have not done to ourselves?
What can you tell us
which we didn’t deceive ourselves with
a long time ago?
You cannot know how long we cried
until we laughed
over the broken pieces of our dreams.
shattered us into such fragments
we had to unearth ourselves piece by piece,
to recover with our own hands such unexpected relics
even we wondered
how we could hold such treasure.
Yes, we have conceived
to forge our mutilated hopes
beyond your imaginings
to declare the pain of our deliverance:
So do not even ask,
do not ask what it is we are labouring with this time;
Dreamers remember their dreams
when they are disturbed-
And you shall not escape
what we will make
of the broken pieces of our lives.