Yesterday. Today. One Day.


I am done with them – at least, enough to last for anything between one day and two weeks. Them. The chores that life hands one before they can even begin to live it. Chores and some. Generally called Cleaning.

I am reading, thinking through Philip Larkin’s ‘Born Yesterday‘, a poem, I recently discovered while being Teacher.

My eyes are fixed on books and pamphlets and the like, all waiting to be read: poems and short stories, bits and chunks of such and more, all waiting to be completed, waiting to be revised, edited or simply, to be read. By me. Somewhere in the pile are real book marks and others improvised from leaflets with messages long dead, strips of ribbons which have long served their initial purposes, paper labels from products long consumed or used and gone for good.

A little above the books and the rest and on a soft blue painted wall, there are a few tabs of random reminders – to do-s; a sketch of a long, flowing colourful dress jointly doodled and coloured by  ** my nephew and littlest sister. Somewhere on the same wall, a timetable, a teaching schedule, is pasted. Beside this and on a bigger paper, I have written, in lead and ink and pink colour pencil, a quotation attributed to one of the Wesley brothers

“If God bids me fly,
I will trust Him
for the wings…”

I briefly remember how I had loved and thought hard and deep about the quotation for so many times that, I came to make it personal or perhaps, intensify the faith, the spirit of it all, by telling myself that:

“If God bids me fly,
I will fly already,
trusting that He already
has given me the wings, and all there is
left for – Him and – me to do is
for me to take that first
step into faith,
into flight…”

Beside the sketch is a fancy wooden crucifix hanging on a sheer lace ribbon. The wooden crucifix has a flowery dial at its centre. The dial, on it is inscribed both the verse and quotation. Joshua chapter 1, verse 9.  Wood, lace, dial and all, was one of a year-or-so old gift from my students – a class.

Meanwhile, a fridge hums away in the nearest room and from the backyard, a nest of birds take turns scattering crisp dry fallen leaves and chirping all the life out of their little frail lungs .

Some background this is!

From outside, a distant grooving of Kwesi Pee‘s Menko aa – not that I would have minded or even realised it if it was rather his Mehia Ͻdɔ– riddles its way into my ears and being. From the same outside but much closer by, Grand-e-Mother’s incessant pet talks weave in and out of fragments of thoughts and smiles and memories and reflections and dreams. Introspection.

Some moment to be alive this is!


Picture mine: My nephew, Kofi Poku, and my youngest sister, Naa Borley. Circa 2015.



– the Mary’s Villa, Palladium, the St. Mary’s Anglican Church: Ga Mashi, Accra.

I saw Gratitude today.
I saw Gratitude
in person: 
the face of the grandchild of one of my Grand-e-Mother’s paternal nieces. This niece was as old as my mother’s oldest sister. This niece, this woman, used to cook and sell the sweetest rice and fish or beef or chicken stew.

And she believed I carried luck, that I was the only and closest lucky one she knew. So everyday, early in the mornings before I went to school, she called me, placed her own money and a plate in my hand, then she would dish some rice and stew into the plate after I hand plate and money to her. I have forgotten what happened to the food – whether she took it back or she let me take and eat it. And I do not remember eating rice – her rice – every morning, everyday.

But I remember, with the vividness of that day Grand-e-Mother first took me to school, how this niece, this woman waxed confident that her food will sell and sell fast. Because she tricked Luck. Because the first person to buy from her is full of luck, is Luck-on-legs, Luck-in-person.

This was more than a decade ago, when I was in primary school.

Today, this woman’s granddaughter, who should be my younger sister’s age, is all grown up and a woman and a mother. I tried, but I saw only bits and smudges of my old knowledge of her looks. This granddaughter. She sits behind another, her sister, who stands behind basins and trays of steamed-and-fried pork, selling to a teeming crowd…

I asked myself when and how time slipped past before anyone could stop it and ask it how one can retain the juice of things and places and peoples long gone, ask it to wake sweet sleeping and dead memories, stay time and ask it what one must do to get the best and most of its milk, ask time to play back the big wonders and petty cares of being a child and just that.


in a place:

the royal palm tree which stands in the middle of pavement blocks large and flat, and of a make ancient and fond than any I see around nowadays. This tree, it towers  above the story building in front of which it stands. It must be more than twice the height of the story building. And under the tree’s shade and in the the aura of both building and tree, we children play and play our fill until we fall tired or asleep or wounded.

Yes, wounded.

But never because of a branch or pod or any such thing falling from the crown and  yawning height of that royal palm tree, to hit anyone – not a toddler or an adult, nor the revered catechist married to the priestess at the Nai shrine, not the famous thief and not the notorious womanizer, nor the fool who everyone has come to know and pity and tolerate. Not a soul. Not a ghost, even.

For whether in the violence of harmattan or in the heat of a storm or in the modesty of everyday-ness, that royal palm tree is always compassionate and careful.

Just like a mother.

People say it is a mother. Actually. So that every time anything dry and hard and heavy fell from it, it touched and scratched ground and ground alone.

In fact, no one ever saw anything fall from the tree. We wake up the morning after or we return from school or cinema, from market or work, or from dance or travel to see the fallen debris. And no one, not even the elders and seers among us know or remember or can guess who planted it, when it was planted. And truly, this is no normal, usual way for a tree to behave, no way for a mere tree to have such a history.

This was more than a decade ago, when I was a child.

Today, a wall has been erected around the tree. That royal palm tree’s wall has the signatures of a shrine: the words written on it, the small door cut into the concrete wall, a white calico curtain flapping in the dusk and breeze.

Today, that royal palm tree is deemed deity…

And that is how I  saw Gratitude today.

I saw Gratitude today and now I know I will

dream and write and think and teach.

And of course, give thanks.


My eldest sister, my uncle and myself, in front of the John Wesley Methodist Church, near Palladium, Accra Central, shortly before Grand-e-Mother’s funeral service. Circa 2014.


I just finished watching a movie I never knew I had on my notebook, a movie I know will be one of very few eternal favourites. Mine.
The movie is an adaptation of a novel – of the same title – by David Nicholls, who is also the writer of the its screenplay. One Day.

What I gleaned from it?

That Love need not wait until it is (almost) too late. It need not be stifled and suffocated until it (necessarily) ends up short-lived.

‘Life is short,’ they say.
I say, ‘The same need not be said of Love.’

And that the really, truly beauty-full, wonder-full, meaning-full and FULL-filling things about and in this life cost NOTHING at all. Nothing but a free spirit, big heart, open arms, mad hope, purposeful work, and oh madder passion – plenty of the passion bit.

Simply, live. Be. Thrive, grow.

Don’t cheat yourself out of life on this side of eternity by just going through the motions, by just surviving, just existing.

Don’t forget, don’t be too busy to


dance in the rain;
lick the soup that strayed, dripped from hand to elbow;
smile because of nothing;
get the best of what good and free things laughter offers;
gape at the smudge of orange – or some other odd – hue on the horizon, at dusk;
take the picture of a picture;

let the child in you run wide and free, seeing the petty and good,
the fun and sad, the new-s and down-s of this thing called life;
watch the ant bite at the water which it can as well get drowned in;
join the children play in the sun, the mud, inside their world;
chat with and be real friends with the elderly and young, with the grand-e and little alike;
love and embrace company and soul-itude like there’s no difference, like
there’s only one of them at a time, at every and each moment;

pour your heart out in hymns and songs, stories and hums, like you never had a care
in this world, like you actually don’t care;
know the solid soft of corn, the touch and truth of salt, the character of pepper, the
integrity that is only fish’s, the easy sooth of that which is nature and sweet;
be content to read while you wait for the bus, while the
bucket, the bathtub fills and gets full;
serve others, especially those who may not be able to afford the chance
and time to sing you their gratitude;

take time to laugh hard at your own self…

Surely, there must be more to being alive than the beating of heart, the running up and down of blood and the coming in and going out of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide…

And while you are at the living, get busy loving…

L.        O.        V.       E.-ing

A and B

Myself and my youngest sister, Naa Borley. Circa 2013. Picture mine.




– Kumasi, 23-July-2017 ; North Kaneshie, 4-Jan-2018.

*    *    *
**Featured image: my nephew, Kofi Poku and my youngest sister, Naa Borley. Circa 2015. Picture mine.
The original versions of the three pieces first appeared on my Facebook account on 24 July 2014 12 March 2017 and 20 October 2014 respectively. 


One Year On. And AiShaWrites On.

We give thanks. (I)

We found dew
to show
for the morning.

Thursday, 27th February, 2014.

 *               *               *

Yes, it’s been a year since this blog went up, with the first post, about how it became that AishaWrites.

I appreciate everyone who has been part of Nu kɜ Hulu (Water and Sun).

Whether by my worrying you without end with my dreams and talks about my writing; my wanting to start a blog; why I settled on the blog name; which of many many pictures to use for a masthead and more such.


Whether by visiting and thoughtfully leaving or carefully not leaving behind a tell-tale – like a comment, a follow, a smile or a frown, and even a wink-and-a-half.

Whether by stopping me in the middle of some corridor somewhere to talk, or by sending a cute message elsewhere about what you thought about one post or the other; which other(s) reminded you of something personal; how sad or happy or…or…well, nothing…you felt about some other post or a part…

Whether by sharing, spreading Nu kɜ Hulu (Water and Sun) and or by simply enjoying, savouring it all alone. Whether by visiting for the first time and or skimming through previous post(s).

And whether any one or more or even none of these apply to you, come visiting again. Please do. Whatever be the case. And more so. As often as you can, and even if it is to say just ‘Hi’.


Again, Aisha appreciates. All.

 *               *               *

Today, I share a piece of a special kind. Like many things in life that have a beginning – even if not markedly so – so it is about how It became that AishaWrites. This It is as much about beginnings as It is about another of its kind. About coming-of-age.

I first posted this piece, a memoir, as a Facebook Note before it was officially published at Phillis Wheatley Chapter (PWC), as the maiden edition of its annual Chicken Soup publication, in December 2013. (There is the December 2014 edition too, which consists of two short poems and another memoir.)

PWC CS advert blue poster
Credit: Phillis Wheatley Chapter 

Phillis Wheatley Chapter (PWC) is a publication that collects African American, British, Canadian, Caribbean and West African poetry. Other forms are published alongside, to celebrate the culture and history of the black people –  in the spirit of Phillis, a young lady who was born in The Gambia in AD1753. As a honorary magazine, PWC does not accept voluntary submissions. Publication is by invitation only.  

PWC has a number of contributors, Ayebia Clarke Publishing as a partner and Darko Antwi as publisher and interviewer. A CIP record of this magazine is available at The British Library. ISSN 2046 – 3537.

Find more about PWC here.

 *               *               *

We give thanks. (II)

For that and more,
and for life of all
good gifts, we are grateful.

Thursday, 27th February, 2014.

 *               *               *

A Memoir: Of Coal Pots and Self- Confidence.

Shepherds set fireShepherds (Yes, they are girls!) light fire for warmth: 2014 Nativity Play which I adapted, directed and co-produced for Alpha Beta Education Centres

I should be four or five years old at the time. And I cannot remember exactly which of the two or two or three classes it was, but it all happened in one of any of my kindergarten classes.

Miss Vida was what we used to call her. And Vida was her first name, not her surname. It was usual, if not the norm, to call teachers by their appropriate titles plus their first names.

Miss Vida had given us an exercise that must have been about something on Environmental Studies. At our age and grade, it should be obvious that the said exercise would heavily entail drawing. It could have as well been about colouring, identification, matching or association.

Then, and even now, I’ve always been called slow- but not dull- at home. And that is not to say I, in any way, am a slow learner. On the contrary, and in all modesty, I am a gifted student. It was only when I grew up that I realized that the root cause of this ‘slowness’ of mine had everything to do with my kind of temperament. I am more of a melancholic than any one of the other four or five temperaments.

So perfectionism and the eyes for details, it turned out, were my faults, and hence, the reasons for my ‘slowness’.


It therefore took me longer time to complete my exercise, but I finished much earlier than was typical of me. Even better, I was not exactly amongst the last pupils to submit their exercises for grading.

And as Miss Vida would usually have it, she sat behind her perpetually almost-fully occupied table. On top of Miss Vida’s table stood tidy rows of mighty skyscrapers of different heights and kinds of books, and tidier trays of supplies of used stationery – pencil butts, chipped erasers, quarter crayons of different colours, pencil sharpeners with blunt blades and the like.

We pupils queued in wait for our turns to have our exercises graded, one after the other, right beside Miss Vida’s seat, behind the screen of the towering skyscrapers.

From time to time, ‘Y-e-e-e-s,’ – or was it ‘N-e-e-e-x-t,’- called Miss Vida, with her eye glasses pulled down too low on the bridge of her bold bevelled nose. Her slightly bulging eyeballs rolled above her nose and the upper rims of her eye glasses. Her delicious intelligent eyes poured from above the eye glasses and pored on the remainder of the shrinking, snaking queue tailing one breadth end of her table.

Without Doubt!.jpg

A fine tuft of grey hair perched half-way at the front of Miss Vida’s hairline. On some days, Miss Vida let the lock of hair down, to frame her high cheek bones and round face. On such days, the balls of her chubby cheeks gleamed than usual. The beauty spot on her temple and the last of what would have been a rugged patch of a man’s goatee, which touched Miss Vida’s double-chin, stood out even bolder on her round sweet face.

All these, together with the stern, yet warm look in Miss Vida’s eyes, and her intimidatingly tidy table, made seeing Miss Vida unnecessarily foreboding. For pupils of my kind. Especially.

And like the perfectionist that she also might have been, Miss Vida critically examined each pupil’s exercise, all the while, pausing several times to question and admonish or guide and correct each pupil about every conceivable aspect of the exercise: from dancing handwriting, through un-dotted i-s and g-s and y-s without curled tails, to omitted punctuation marks, disproportionate lower and upper case letters and the like.

The real task in Miss Vida’s exercises therefore, lay in the drill that came with the shared grading process. And this did not help matters with how foreboding it was to submit an exercise to Miss Vida for grading. Still, for pupils of my sort. Especially.

seff esteem
Credit: Colour Box

So having completed my exercise, I joined the queue.

Little by teeny little, the queue crawled at a pace dictated by the quality of each pupil’s exercise -per Miss Vida’s own criteria- and by how long Miss Vida took with her interrogation or correction –or what not- with the given pupil. The queue shrank as quickly as more pupils left it from Miss Vida’s table’s end, and as more others joined it from the tail end.

The pupils, who were still sitting, therefore, might have either been to Miss Vida already or were yet to complete their exercise, and then, join the queue.

But much much before it got to my turn, I went back to the last place in the queue.

Several times did I offer my mates the right to get ahead of me, to jump the queue. And I am sure those of my mates who should had been behind me in the queue might have thought me too kind or some other things not as positive.
11133715_824251257629707_8544641783088182080_nPhoto credit: Dr. Lizzy Attree, Director of the Caine Prize for African Writing; one of three workshop participants at a local school visit, a part of the 2015 Caine Prize Writing Workshop at Elmina, Ghana.

Finally, I was the very last person to have to submit her work to Miss Vida, and to submit to her not-exactly pet-talks. I was to be both shamed and elated – though inwardly – when it finally got to my turn. For this particular exercise, I did not keep as long as any of my mates had been at Miss Vida’s table.

With her red pen, all Miss Vida did was to dig a check sign with a rather long tail, which ran through almost the whole page on which I had done my exercise. She also scribbled one or two of those congratulatory remarks that teachers often write under the check sign.

Like most of my classmates, quite apart from the hurried nature with which these words were written, we could not – at that age and stage – read those remarks. However, we all well knew, just by their looks, what each one of those remarks meant.

And yes, those scribbles meant a lot to us pupils.


A few words- scribbles, I mean- to reinforce the remarks under the check sign, a deliberate tender pat on the shoulder – mine – and her broadest smile, and then Miss Vida closed my book, neatly placed it on top of one of the skyscrapers on her table, and asked me to take my seat.

And to think I did not get to sit that soon after all, after the drill of a shared grading; not after Miss Vida had stood in front of the class with me, and she had given what should be a recommendation speech: recommendation of me to my classmates.


PWC CS praise yellow poster
Credit : Phillis Wheatly Chapter

I merely went through the motions: Miss Vida’s passionate speech and the applause and cat-calls from my classmates at the end of the speech.

All these. And more. For a simple exercise on something about coal-pots. Something I was about the only pupil who had it right. Per Miss Vida’s criteria.

 *               *               *

We give thanks. (III)

Let us find fruit
to show
for the evening, for dusk, even.

We pray.

Thursday, 27th February, 2014.

 *               *               *

Now, in the newness of the season and of every goodwill, in the spirit of Nu kɜ Hulu (Water and Sun) and of goodness itself, in gratitude for times past, and in prayer for the days, the year to come, Aisha wishes you the best of…

Life. Love. More such goodly gifts. ,



Love: AishaWrites.

I never remember setting out as a Writer. I do know that I have not only been a loner, but also, always been a thinker – as in the philosophical, reflective, and yes, the daydreaming sense. The first time I remember telling someone, an elderly person, what I would like to be in future and I mentioned Writer, I was told that no one makes a serious job, a meaningful career, out of being that. ‘Beside, writers are too weird a people. And I don’t like the way they dress. And other things,’ my aunt’s husband had added. I knew little at the time to decide what to make of his words about Writers and their ways…

I never remember setting out as a Writer. I do remember that quite early in my first year in high school, I was to write a story on a theme similar to ‘Ball in the Soup’, a story in our English Language textbook. Our Teacher had a few of us students read the stories we had come up with. Then she called me – and I had not even raised my hand, to be called – to read mine. It so much looked like one of those pranks Teachers sometimes like to play on students who are rather too quiet (but not necessarily passive) in class, just to get such students too to talk. The Opening of my story, everything In Between and The Ending made nothing, if not nonsense, of all that our Teacher had taught us about what makes for proper, well-crafted stories.

I never remember setting out as a writer, so I could not have meant to be rebellious or something of the sort to all the tips – or were they tricks? – which my Teacher had taught, and very well so. I just wrote my story the way it came to me, and that, I read to both Teacher and classmates.

I never remember setting out as a writer, so I could have expected my Teacher to be disappointed with what I read. My teacher waited too long to give the remarks about my story. There was something ominous and everything intentional – reflective, even – about the wait. While I had read and when I had finished with the reading, my classmates had been far too silent than could be true of them. They seemed to be both afraid and eager to hear what rebuke, whether harsh or hushed, that our Teacher would give me. Theirs was one worrisome wait. In an already thin voiced which had waned shrill with sheer wonderment, the rebuke came…

‘I tell you! There are writers in this class’, was all that my English Language Teacher had said. Miss Wobson is her name, and the last time I searched for her, she is late…

I never remember setting out as a writer, so during those same years, when I met Madam Star Nyaniba Hammond, I was more surprised than elated when she gladly offered to mentor me. And I did not ask, just as it never would have occurred to me to ask… She had only read one short story of mine which had appeared in Graphic Communications Group’s The Mirror. Her first letter to me – I was in boarding school by then – was more praise and love than recommendations and encouragement. That letter was to be my first and only from her. After several writing and calling back, all without any response whatsoever, I later learnt Madam Hammond passed away…

I never remember setting out as a writer and even now, and for a long time to come – and maybe forever, I will remain careful to call myself a writer. Too.

One day, I will tell of Ali Nelson and Naa Amanuah Ankrah and Ansaba Botchway.
One day, I will also tell of Prof. Kofi Anyidoho and Dr. Mawuli Adjei (Mawuli Adzei).
One day, I will tell of Adza Gloria (as I used to call her) and one Mrs. Ruth Benny-Wood. Too.

One day, I will tell of more others and properly tell this story of how it became that AishaWrites.

Until then, it just happens that Love is, that AishaWrites.

Until then and in in keeping with the name and spirit of this blog, Nu kɛ Hulu (Water and Sun), here are two poems, the latter of which was first published in the Kalahari Review.

with heads up

They went as fast as they came
leaving behind stuffed air for reasons
around all the dreams we wove
They went as fast as they came
leaving behind tired knots for cords
on the songs we strung and sang together

the dreams turned into walls
and echoed the ugliness of
the love-turned-hate songs
For a long lost memorial,
the love-turned-hate songs
smeared, smudged on the blanched walls and all

They went as fast as they could
leaving behind fine feathers for trails
to some place without a name
They went as fast as they could
to build fancy, fairy castles
with strange elements and stranger people

the feathers became wings
and fanned time, age and more time on
their haste-turned- castles
For a sorry, soul-less thing,
the haste-turned-castles
stood, drooped under the wasteful wings

They went
as fast as they came
as far as they could
leaving me with plenty room
for everything,
and all the Sun
for all things…

Thursday, 26th April 2007

…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

Do remember
to share the Love,
to spread this Love and
to leave a comment.

Do have
a merry Christmas,
a happier new year and
a fruitful, fulfilling life.