‘A bitter cold wind swept round them, and 

            she felt something pulling at her dress. 

            “Quick, quick,” cried the Ghost’  –  Oscar 

            Wilde, The Canterville Ghost 



before i can speak you’re already gone 

all of you, ghosts shimmering in the flames 

of absence, i question you and the wind 

answers. i am left with the spite of night. 


the elders say you can only tell a frog’s true length 

when it dies:  your bodies are now sand and bone, 

no rulers can lay their digits on you. 

i question you and the wind answers 


sarah, emma, jerry… – I could name you all; 

you said crying was good, but you didn’t say 

which eye should first shed its load. this riddle 

ages me. i question you and the wind answers. 


yesterday I saw a dead frog, lonely 

by the side of the road. i could tell  

its length, but its voice had faded in the sun, 

its green and blood were fused into mystery. 


i turned to point it out to you, but before 

i could speak the wind blew my scarf away. 

uncollecteded poem, © Nii Ayikwei Parkes 2021, used by permission of the author.

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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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