At home Death claims
Two streams from women's eyes
And many day-long dirges;
Gnashes, red eyes and sighs from men,
The wailing of drums and muskets
And a procession of the townsfolk
Only if the coffin decides
To take one last look at the home.
But here I see
Three cars in procession.
The first holds three—
A driver chatting gaily with a mate,
And behind them, flowers on a bier.
The second holds five, and the third too.
In 1976, in the middle of what was for us a second exile, my father's younger brother died. This death was shortly followed by the news of the death of his 112-year-old aunt, the only grandmother we had ever known. In accordance with custom and tradition, a few weeks later, and against the odds, the family in Wenchi, a town in the Brong-Ahafo region in the middle of Ghana, managed to send to Papa in Standlake, a small village in the countryside west of Oxford, the fragment of the burial cloth that was his aunt's and which he would have received on the day of the burial, had he been there.