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  • On the Beaches of Elmina
  • Dr. Ike Odimegwu

That Memorable Meeting at Cape Coast, Ghana, 2009
(In honor and fond memory of Harold Isaacs)


On the beaches of Elmina We met and held A conference of minds A concourse of hearts A dialogue of feelings A network of lives Uniting the world In one great family


At the castle of Elmina We went and beheld A recall of our past Of deeds and events So awful and sad Of memories and histories That put us to shame As we vaunt and flaunt Our humanity and all


And oh all these Cause us to wonder The reason of reason [End Page 49] And why it seems Always to be late When the havoc of passion The lust of greed Have had their glee And only the wreckage Is left to reason


And yet let none assume to judge To judge the past or the other judge For see our world is not much better Only may be as mask now better


If the past be only teacher With the other a fellow learner Who is wrong shall know it so Who is right shall feel it so


So at the resort of Elmina We celebrated change Seeking for the future Some new image Our selves the image Some new identity


With strokes of justice Colors of democracy With culture the artist Painting in water Ever new ever young As we have come From far and close Seeking the new in the old [End Page 50]


In the halls of Elmina We chatted and charted New ways for new world From the first and the third But where is the second? No one has told


And yet the new world now We must seek to build In the brotherhood of the woman Who bridges and builds From our many worlds and ruins Her own unique world and home Which alone we truly desire The end alone we all aspire


And what a brand you thus parade ATWS, all your women! Charming ideals; brilliant models High in thought; deep in feelings Feelings of warmth, human family What a soaring depth you parade


In the courtyard of Elmina There we dined and wined Daring the ocean and its roaring waves With our audacious gyrations And even more audacious expressions Baring the margins Embracing the center Bursting the shackles Of ill fangled rancor [End Page 51] To steer the ship Of nascent humanity Where first and third and all Live a shared humanity in one


And now deep in the heart of Africa You come, ATWS your advent first After many years around Can any world be more third? Than Africa now; the cradle and the stern That it took you this long to come


Thank goodness a few were here If none else to see you here And say welcome even here In the way of mothers, tender hearts In the way of mothers, seeing eyes


What warmth amidst your high company Brimming engaging intellectual fireworks Overwhelming uplifting communal networks It feels great to be in your company


Welcome to Africa ATWS! Welcome to Africa ASRF! Where you expect a bounteous harvest Of troubles untelling as also of hope Not much audacity, yet some hope Green leaves freshen the dying stalk Fresh springs water the desert thirst


Dry stalks, desert thoughts Ideologies since worn threadbare [End Page 52] Old theories in need of fresh breathing Old school in search of new learning


Welcome to Africa where it all began That with you it may begin again And once in you become anew The new world the old world may renew


Thank you for coming And yet we eye Expectant hearts await more coming Renascent Africa waits by the isles Reluctant bye we say return! When again shall you turn?


And now I turn to the feelings of my heart To the springs that well the feelings now As I recall with a throb the old young one “Sir Harold Isaacs”, who lent me that one? Whoever it is, I say thank you! Sir Harold Isaacs...


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pp. 49-54
Launched on MUSE
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