History does not only rest on the tongues of the elderly or sit somewhere on the dusty shelves in a community library but also takes a seat in literary arts. It then becomes a memory and landmark on social map. An essential capture of humanity in literary arts is a testimony to the evolution of both ills and beauty in our shared space as social beings. Poetry is no exception to these universal truths. The astonishing beauty of poetry is when few say much – when just one word, phrase or clause is the foundation on which a recorded event in history stands. It is measurably fascinating to discover the seminal thoughts of poets as they jot events as a future pointer. Most often, it is connecting these dots to real life events that suggest the poem’s preferred meaning or purpose.
How a group survives to tell its story should by always be a prominent feature in advancing such narrative as a viable option. No one captures this better than Kwesi Brew’s Ghana’s Philosophy of Survival. The opening line is striking, a powerful and dense metaphor. Brew goes straight to the point without trading words.
‘’ We are the punch bag of fate’’
This poem is not one that entertains complaints. The plurality of the voice of the persona might deceitfully suggest so. It says it as it. It makes no direct reference to political events but the subtlety of it can not be ignored.
‘’ their viciousness on our patience
until they become caresses of admiration’’
Whoever is the object of address is cunning.
‘’ and time that heals all wounds
comes with a balm and without tears,
soothes the bruises on our spirits’’
As a typical Ghanaian, she knows time, silence and fama Nyame (‘’give to the God’’) heal. The persona goes on to suggest that as a mean of survival- ‘’ mettle of invisibility / This is how we outlast and outlive / the powerful and unwise.’’
In all these, she has hope.
‘’ love of family kith and kin and brother-keeping
has cast us in the mould :
that while we take the blow
and seem unhurt,
speechless, we also watch and wait’
Notice the pun – ‘’kith’’ and ‘’kin.’’ The persona is counting on comradeship to sail them through the sea of times.



Note :

Please, read the poem, Ghana’s Philosophy of Survival by Kwesi Brew  here

  1. Purely Ghanaian….I salute u SirAgyare


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