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The Non-Returnees

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi

30th December 2011

This poem is written as a sequel to my write-up with the title, ‘ Why are many Ghanaians in the Diaspora’, which you can google at: columnist sakyi, kwesi atta. Enjoy reading it.

I weep for those who left

In search of the golden fleece

But never returned,

Even though they could be going

And going forever,

They should return,

For the earth is round,

Unless they went off in a tangent

Into outer space

After defying gravity,

By the supersonic velocity

Of their ascent,

Conditioned by their greed,

Jointly proportional to the golden fleece and their need,

And inversely as a square of the distance

Between their need and fleece,

Oh they went but never returned,

Those non-returnees!

I weep for those who went

But never returned,

Times were bad,

Jobs were hard to come by,

Everybody was sad,

And the economy was mad,

No economic panacea would work,

As everything went berserk,

The young, the old, all went in droves

Into the Diaspora,

They they got

Mired!

Betwitched,

And lured by a phantom mirage

Into a voluptuous vortex of exile,

With no option of an exit,

As if that was their remit

Again I weep for those who went

But never returned,

They kept going and going,

And never returned,

For some, they were chasing oil mirage,

Be it in Agege, Ghadaffiland or the Levant,

They went in search of silage

And became like the prodigal son in alien lands,

Increasingly increasing their mileage,

Between home and the golden fleece,

Yes they went

But never returned

Did you know,

It could have been a son or daughter,

A brother or sister,

A husband or wife,

A father or mother,

Whatever relation they were,

They went and never returned

To the hearth in the native land,

Sometimes you wonder

Why they abandoned you

After those tons and tons of pledges

In the dawn broadcasts,

When you shared intimate moments,

They simply went

And never returned!

Often and often you wondered

Could they be sleeping now in garages,

Or in abandoned containers and crates,

Or in cavernous concrete sewers

Under the mammoth Eko bridge

In prime Lagos,

Or are they dead from

A terrible disease,

A terrible road accident,

Or are they victims of some ritual murder,

Or framed-up charges and thrown behind bars at Kirikiri?

Yes, sometimes these bad thoughts come to mind,

When matters come to a bind,

And then, a flash of hope springs to mind!

Maybe, they are alive and well,

Happily married with children and bewitched!

You’ll never know,

They can sow their seeds, even in snow!

It s indeed a long story

Since they left

And not a letter,

Nor a word of mouth,

Nor an email

Nor a phone call

Has ever come through

After all these countless moons!

Or my, they put us soon into a swoon!

How can they, of all people,

Have short memories,

About the lovely kids left behind,

The sweet, loving spouses they promised to come for,

The quondam friends they vowed to write to,

The expectant relatives they planned to inundate with gifts,

The innumerable dependants they planned to settle down?

Yeah, they left us in the cold,

In search of the land of gold,

Ever since they left the fold,

We’ve since grown very old. They’ve put us on hold!

In case you the reader

Know of any non-returnee

Report ASAP to Non-returnee dot com,

Perhaps, you can light a spark

If you are as sweet as a lark

So that if we are in luck

We can go fetch them back,

The non-returnees who never looked back

Nor returned

After all, the golden fleece

Is here at home

So says the holy tome!

From my book, ‘Mulungushi Sounds’ – A Collection of African Poetry, 2007 pp 39-41’.

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

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