Ghana by Air

Let the dry savannah winds 

grab you by the hair 

and drag you 


through tough clumps 

of cow-nibbled grass. 


Did you see the children streak by 

on bikes – two or sometimes three on the same? 

Did you see the striking garments 

energised by night dances? 


Now the green of the forest 

will sweep you across the secret 

passages of 

Ashanti pride 

into the rich red 

depths of palm nut soup. 


Did you see a woman drag her husband 

home by the cuff – insulting him all the way? 

Did you hear the market traders 

hurling prices down the street? 


The lights of Accra 

will confound you as you circle 

dreamily round 


houses arranged to fit 

sprouting family trees. 


Did you hear the blaring 

horns – sometimes angry, sometimes friendly? 

Did you see two lovers 

heading for Labadi beach? 


Follow them 

lift the hem 

of the sea 

you have reached 

the centre 

of the world 

from The Geez (Peepal Tree, 2020), © Nii Ayikwei Parkes 2020, used by permission of the author

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes grew up in Ghana but was born in the UK where he later returned for further study, where with the friendship and ...

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