Aisha Nelson: Prayer, Again or Something Like It.


For the first time, I bring you, Reader Dear, three of my poems – raw, without any prose pieces and not as complements to anything prosaic. Three poems which explore not only (the physical tokens and contexts of) Prayer and its impact on the human psyche and spirit and perhaps worldview, but also on the place of Prayer in the grande scheme of things, and its role as a bridge, the communion between one side of the world or reality and another…

Happy reading.

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  1. The Enquiry


sweat and rain mingle in the solid downpour



it pounds on parched scalps

feet break stones                  rocks crack

toes squirt mud                    water gush

wind beats frayed faces

with pins                      with cold

world is white              bleak

shriveled remains trudge on to give flesh to The

Enquiry                        at                               The


Oracle. searching souls decay

gnaw away with waiting at The

Oracle. souls gnarled with the labyrinth of dilemmas and dreams

souls negotiating a handshake from a desperate distance

navigating, measuring their lot of thought and depth

while the backs of disinterested spirits look on

spirits scratching serious sores with rocks

spirits cracking kernels with swollen paws



Tswa. Omanye aba.

let the moon no more swallow the sun at dusk

let not the fingerlings gulp down the crab a-whole

let the shell not shell another shell…

let not the kite suffocate the sky’s nostril

let the paths not turn rock with hoes

let not the footprints stray ahead of the wayfarer


Tswa. Tswa. Omanye aba.

let dew be found to show for the morning

let the spirit and soul reconcile

To share their unique, singular home.


Tswa. Tswa. Tswa. Omanye aba.


Thursday, 23rd April, 2009


  1. …at the scent of water.

not water
not dew
at the scent of water

let the frayed stump spew green
let the foul egg vomit a being

let that which was birthed to die
find life
let that which died before birth
know life

at the scent of water
not dew
not water

Friday, 19th June, 2009



  1. Rain Again



rickety priest leant on lithe walking stick and prophesied:

“I hear the sound of rain

her footsteps thundering behind

her billowy rolling children.

I smell the scent of rain

in the gritty swirl of sweat and

heat and dust and green!”


Our lips simply, limply, repeated the refrain:

“Oh let the rains come

Let the rains come quick for us

Lest we perish…”


(For we cannot afford the argument of our minds:)

“Let the rains come spoil our dire rituals     for

we have long been actively lazing            for

far too long in quarter-hearted supplications for it

Let the rains come beat us so hard that

we throw the hands lifted in prayer


in despair

of rains and gods and fields and all and we rush


home…Oh, that it rains so hard (so) we sleep so tight

and we forget our hunger and we rush

to tend the dying tendrils the ‘morrow

with emptier stomachs for both faith and


hope…Let it rain so hard for so long                      so we

forget to come back to give thanks and                we

remember – only too late- we don’t need rain for that long so we

go praying the gods for draught-of-sorts




Monday, 30th May, 2011



Wednesday, 27th January, 2016

Dansoman, Accra.



*                   *                  *


In its September 2014, libation-themed online anthology, University of London’s Prairie Schooner featured The Enquiry, together with other poems by young, contemporary Ghanaian writers and selected same-themed poems from its archives. You may see the publication here.


Together with two other poems, …at the scent of water first appeared in the October-November 2013 (online) editions of Kalahari Review. You may see the publication here.


 After adapting it for theatre, Rain Again featured in Accra Theatre Workshop’s  maiden short drama production, An African Walks into a Psychiatrist’s Office and   Other Short Plays. This was on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November, 2013. Learn more here

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