THE SPIDER AND THE TORTOISE

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Naked tortoise sat and watched

As its shell-loss-pain hijacked his happiness

And kidnapped all his will to live

So Kwaku Ananse took his sad cue

And looked for ways to own what tortoise wanted gone

II

Ananse wove a dubious plan

Like skilled Bonwire fingers weaving kente

And draped it on tortoise’s body

Whose spirit sat ghostly at Ananse’s mercy

With tears in its invisible eyes

III

Ananse dragged tortoise to his shed

Tied him to its bloodthirsty abattoir

And went off into the fiery bush

To ask the gods for a permit to kill

What is earthly dead to see its the heart of its spirit

IV

The gods refused to give the permit

But Ananse came home ready to kill

When it took out its fiery knife

Tortoise’s sudden stress switched fast to fears

The fear with strength like a frightened bull

V

Tortoise broke free and bolted fast

Like a thief of lightening rushing off the sky

 Strength gods agreed to take their speed

From his limbs to have some peace

In their disciplined kingdom

VI

Poor tortoise thought it through

It did no good after it defeated death

So it took a calabash and headed for the palm farm

For days on end until he got some palm wine

And poured libation for forgiveness

VIII

The gods of strength refused to yield

All merciful and wondrous God

Had pity on the gourd turned calabash and tears of the palm

And the repentant soul

And built for tortoise a strong shell

To aid it in its many travels on his cursed slow feet

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

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