the great oak has fallen

As I'm sure most of you are aware, John Atta Mills, the President of Ghana, died suddenly last week.

Over at One Ghana, One Voice we've opened a call for poems memorializing the late president. Already over a dozen have flowed in, including poems by Prince Mensah and Darko Antwi, with more arriving daily.

I've been most touched by the personal notes that have begun arriving in our email inbox thanking us for posting these poems. Many readers (often Ghanaian expats) have found that reading the poems on the site has helped them feel connected with others who are just as shocked and grief-struck as themselves.

Prince Mensah puts it best when he says, in our press release about the submission call, that “across Ghanaian cultures, when a great man goes to the village, there are several events that commemorate that man's life. There are dirges, dances, discussions and dedications. Out of all the literary genres, poetry tends to be the kind that symbolizes, and captures, the brevity of our sojourn on earth, together with an appropriate summary of our deeds. The various poems on One Ghana, One Voice evoke the essence of this patriot worthy of emulation.”

We'll be publishing poems daily on the main page of the site until we run out. It would be wonderful to have some international contributions, if anyone feels so moved. There is no length limit (a haiku would make the cut), and the poems don't have to be hyper-specific to this particular situation, so there's space for you even if you don't feel overly qualified for tackling the subject.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in this, please do help spread the word!

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