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post Honoured by the Ashanti

March 17th, 2011

Filed under: Literature Corner — Natty Mark Samuels @ 11:07

HONOURED BY THE ASHANTI
to the Akan of Ghana

No one will cut me today. Those without breath shall not be placed within me. For they say I was created on Thursday: by God whom they call Nyame.

No farmer will use his hoe. Nor shall any tree be felled. Because today is the day of my ‘birth’. They call me Asase Yaa; some know me as Mother Earth.

I always give them yam and plantain. But today is my day of rest. The farmer and I will awake tomorrow; shining at our best.

Blood is poured on me. The flesh is mixed with yam. At the four corners of the farm, they deposit this fusion. It is planting time, so they have come to ask permission.

Like dutiful children they come to me; their humble petition. For protection from snakebite. To assist in cultivation. They come with a gift of water. To pay homage by libation.

And when a girl begins to become a women. Her mother will go around, informing the village of that new fact. Then she’ll return to pour wine over me. Invoking Nyame, myself and her ancestry.

They ask permission also, when it is time to put someone inside me. In a hole called peace. I become tomb. So many inside me. I am the Final Room.

When someone’s word is in doubt. Needing to prove themselves right: before their blood begins to boil. They get on their knees and touch me; their lips against the soil.

They have another name for me. They call me Aberewa – the Old Woman. But they are always respectful, reverential. The People of Gentle Petition.

I’m glad to be their Mother. To nourish and to nurture. I know I’ve been blessed by Nyame. So I’ll enjoy my sacred day celebrations. Honoured by the Ashanti.

©Natty Mark Samuels, 2011.

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