Monday, June 17th, 2024

Close this search box.

A Song in Seven Stanzas: for our Grand-Daughters

No comment
Monday, March 21st, 2016


Tradition and the remembrance of things past,

Are a re-discovered country

Of things we struggle against;

Where as pygmy women we stand tall among the Bantu

And name ourselves Babongo.

We stand here, compassionate witnesses,

To witches who are just mothers, to mothers who are just loyal,

To those who wrestle snakes to feed their children,

And to grandmothers who keep faith enough with girls,

To make god change his mind.


Young as we are, if we don’t tell our stories who will speak out for us, when

We claim our bodies for ourselves and weep no more, when

We write to each other and teach ourselves, not

To trade our bodies for security, wealth, power,

Or whatever price they can bring, when

We call out and claim a love that knows no name and has no place, when

We learn “it is not rape if…”

We still love our daddy as his bewildering passion penetrates us

Shocking us to learn the forbidden pathways of ourselves,

And the things we struggle for.


If we don’t tell our stories, hailstones will continue to fall on our heads,

Thrown by fathers for the children to see – for we are not good women,

Thrown by Imams by a judge’s decree – for we are not good wives,

Thrown by other women in our husbands’ lives

As they come in the morning cradling his children

Calling us witch, barren, bitch

And we find something to tie the chest with;

Challenging words to hurl back in battle,

And partners to hold us anyway,

Through the things we struggle against.


If we don’t tell our stories who will know we did not comply:

We did not wish our lives away, but stayed focused,

And staunched the cut of virginal blood,

To stop our daughters being slaves;

We learned to sing survival songs,

Through violence and rape and war;

We did not tell each other lies, or taste slow poison all alone;

And stitched for our dead not effigies, but new dolls

So our artistry displays only prayer heals despair,

Through the things we struggle for.


When we share strategy through story

We empower ourselves to take a stand;

And bear witness through our words in blood and ink,

To wage peace as an act of faith,

To call out by name the things we fear.

Not just victims, or betrayed child soldiers –

liberated from the fires of oil, or greed, or power

We claim a collective love,

Plant trees or wage a campaign, sing songs or keep silence,

As agents of a just resistance now, and as in the past.


Through bondage and through freedom we share our tactics,

And document. We write from every different place,

To reclaim our names, and inherited legacies we want to pass along.

We write to stay in places as we choose –

We who crossed the Atlantic all those yesterdays ago,

We who have come again today-

We who have stayed in place through generations,

We who will stay in place tomorrow-

Or move on: between generations, between cultures, between locations,

As we ourselves want, now, as in the future.


We envision new futures for ourselves

As we weep with each other in silence or laugh:

We network behind shop counters, and on factory floors,

We engage across industrial landscapes, and in mining villages,

We reach out from fishing boats and commercial farms

We meet in schools, churches parliaments and slums

And from dance floors to prison cells we are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the Liberian State House.

We are the tomorrow our grandmothers dreamed

We are grandmothers dreaming other tomorrows –

Our own compassionate witnesses: standing at the edge of time.


©Abena P.A. Busia,

Accra, October 2009



2 Responses

  1. ”through bondage and freedom we share our tactics and documents”… This is a great piece that depicts the Life of a True woman. when they say life has given its Slaps, punches, hugs, kicks and Warmness; meet a woman she would explain all of these to you. She sees more than any and she flies higher than you could ever imagine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *