Of Earth and the Sea, We Have Already Sung

Posted: September 24, 2015 in MUSINGS
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Files. Who is numbering the dead?

There is partying in the oceans of this world. Long before it became fashionable for Syrians to join up, brothers and friends from all of Africa, fleeing lands that have ceased to be hospitable, drunk too much of the Mediterranean, ending up in eternal stupor from which there is no rousing. The world cared little about their party, as long as they did not end up on the other side. Gaddafi bargained them as fodder for Italian money and Europe did not flinch about helping them. They were the scum of the earth. Flotsam and jetsam of the sea.

The world noticed and Europe was roused after Syrians joined the party. There is a body that can be mourned and another which is unmournable. I have written poetry in the past for African refugees who died as they tried to reach Lampedusa. The situation has only worsened.

This poem is for anyone who will cross an ocean on this tiny ball of dirt called earth, in search of a better life. Live long!

Of Earth and the Sea, We Have Already Sung
We are people of the land
Our fathers did not swim
And neither do we.
Our only knowledge of water was rain
Our land was too dry
To court a river
Our eyes too dry
To shed a tear.

But we have been intimate with the sea
Our land has turned upon us.
What could hold no water
Has learnt to drink blood
Our land frightens us.

So we shall make new friends with the sea
We who have known no water
Shall be remembered as the men of the sea
We who only sung of the earth
Shall make new hymns for the water
And if there shall be any more singing yonder,
We who died in this crossing
Shall plead:
Of earth and the sea, we have already sung.

  1. mj says:

    It is heart rending – the extent to which a man must go simply to be sure of seeing another day. It is a great human tragedy and one for which we must all hang our heads in shame, anywhere on this ball of dirt.
    Your depiction of man’s misery and ignominy is profound, and persuades us to remember unnamed and unseen people who must live lives so like our own.
    And it is awesomely taut and well-balanced poetry. I read it a couple of times to let it wash over the shores of my being.

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Thank you for being awake, and afraid.
    God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. livelytwist says:

    Heart rending. With a few verses you’ve brought us to the shores of the seas. Now that we are there, what will we do?

    Your poetry reminds me of a quote I saw:

    You have to understand that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than land. – Mariam Abuamer

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dela says:

      Timi, the world has lost its will for good. Those with power are powerful because those without power continue to lose theirs. Yet the powerful will not use their power for good.

      I don’t know who had it first but your quote is a line in a poem by Warsan Shire, my favourite poet of this generation. It’s titled ‘Home’ and is also a tribute to refugees making the ocean crossing. Read it here http://seekershub.org/blog/2015/09/home-warsan-shire/

      Liked by 2 people

      • livelytwist says:

        Beautiful. Evocative. Sad. There are many stories but the ones she alludes to are some of the saddest.

        She probably wrote it first, but on the internet sometimes other people’s words take flight on other’s Timelines. Thanks for sharing the link.


  3. Efo Dela says:

    man the intro got me emotional. That intro is a poem on it’s own.

    It’s more than a bit sad all these people desperately trying to leave their homes for places they aren’t welcome at. It’s sad when they have to leave for reasons like wars and other pestilences. However, it’s just confusing when people endanger themselves for no other reason that they want to get to Europe.

    I also wrote about the Syrian migration. The world will take notice then lose interest. We are a generation with a short attention span and a high craving for drama at other people’s expense

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dela says:

      Dela, there is no saying how many more will die before the world decides to be decisive. While we crave an end to the illegal migration and the wars, guess what? Russia is supplying weapons to Assad’s government while the US and its allies are supplying weapons and training to the revolutionaries. Similar things happening across Africa. The powerful don’t care about the death of the poor.



    EFO Dela,you spoke with a voice very peculiar to my father poet(Prof.Kofi Anyidoho)a Ghanaian Poet but you are not far from our own voice,the late Awoonor.On the subject, you have mentioned it all,so eloquently drafted and poised.But do you know the sea has eaten more than the earth? For remember the meals she vomits on the mediterrenean shores are only the ones that troubled her stomach. What then happens to the ones that pass the test of digestion.Dela ?Please l am another young person always maddened by voices like yours.l am currently collecting some poetry on my own,please help me with an audience,possibly email me for me to get your contact..l think l am another Ewe with a voice.Please!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hamstar says:

    wow, it feels good to see the works of senior writers..impressive!


  6. Woooooow this great.I can’t stop reading


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