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Kwesi Brew: The Slums of Nima

When I passed the windows yesterday
I passed into a night buttered
With stars like the yellow petals
Of the acacia on the black soil
On which it stands.
I plunged into a treachery of winding lanes
Into an eclipse of the sun.
I heard murmurs and groans of childbirth
And could not tell
From which unhinged door they came:
The doors were too close together.

Three neighbours met,
And after a hurried, “I give you rest”
The two young men stood aside for the old man
To pass and then picked their way
In the opposite direction towards the alley
On the left.
They were thieves who robbed with violence
But still they stood aside for the old man
And he thanked them.

In a bereaved world questions and comments
Fall on unhearing ears.
Only silence, understanding and
Belonging can put
A blind man’s stick in the hands
Of a searcher in that night.

The crumbling walls have leaned
On their chests for decades!
The toll of breathing has shredded
Their lungs, and their eyes are sore
With the smoke of the wicker lamps.
And now we all stand at the edge
Of an abyss
Afraid to plunge headlong, or
Return to the dark of the night with them!



1. BIKOR - October 5, 2006


2. kwesi K Brew - December 10, 2006

very thoughfull-

3. Nana Yeboaa - June 2, 2007

this poem touches on the core of slums in ghana. Kwesi gives you the immense povery & treachery whilst noting the fundamental training that was given to most of us, respect your elders.

4. Yoofi Brew - July 30, 2007

Sadly, the renowned Ghanaian Poet of the 20th century, Kwesi Brew, lost the battle to a short illness this morning. Cause is yet to be established, however, it wouldn’t be out of place to lay cause at the doorstep of sadness, regret, neglect, frustration, helplessness, despair and disappointment Kwesi suffered in his last days. I can categorically state that Uncle Kwesi has never been treated well by his political brothers. Those he helped nurture in politics at the peril of his wealth and health, who hitherto were cash strapped but at present well to do, could not help him secure his failing flour business he with a few others toiled to build. While he looked on for others in similar circumstances to receive help to rise up once again from a crippling economic stranglehold and obnoxious interest regime of a previous government, Kwesi’s own whom he hopefully hoped could rescue him left him in the cold when it was their turn to pick him up. Did he have any language barriers that could not make him reach his brothers in arms? This is a tragic loss to Ghana and the entire Poetry fraternity.

5. Giovanni - January 19, 2010

I love “Ancestral Faces” so much and I always like to know that “they seenked at the limbo of time and could not muffle the drums” May Kwesi Brew in his eternal smile rejoice with the ancestors, and may he tell them that “the dance has not changed” for I know that the benevolent boat man, Kutsiame Has ferried Him across. He forever remains a great mind, mentor, poet and reformer of the perversed African Culture.

6. Yaw Agyemang - July 9, 2012

Well collated, calculated and cloaked.

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