Poetry by Charlotte Derby
Kete Krachi was the town
I had flown sixteen hours first class in a tin bird
drove nine hours on a rough bumpy road
to meet a woman
Her little hut was her castle
Her fingers, a mixture of wrinkles and creases
She caressed my face
She gave the gentlest touch
Much more than the first night I knew a man
When she saw my yawn, my tired eyes
My sunken face
She rushed to do what rest my body
craved and caved in for
Sa me kete
On this concrete floor
She laid me a bed
A thin raffia mat,
With a thin sheet for cover
and this tired body found tranquil
her soul found an awakening
Exceeding what my comfy foam
in my snowy land had to offer
Over here my own blanket
would have arisen in opposition
My cosy loft apartment would
pester me that I run back home
I am mesmerized laying close to this cold hard ground
there is a charm down here no one told me about
I smell my motherland better
Alas! I sneeze out all foreign elements
This woman of mine
My mother’s, mother’s, mother
Again and again I love your bosom
But your bed is a delight
Awo, sa me kete
PEOPLE AND THINGS
A person is many things to many people.
To my mother I am a force, as strong as a rushing wind in a haste to swirl at 1:55 am on an Accra-London flight. I churn out as a little black unfinished human, needing an artificial womb to survive. Then to a shy little girl sucking at her thumb in addition to the lollipop in her mouth.
Mama is this black? She turns her head and says it is skin. Skin – not black.
Then I hit elementary school and they say it is black skin, not just skin. So my Mama lied? Nay, she never did. So I call what she calls skin, skin.
To my father, I am his pumpkin and his cherry. Sometimes his damsel, on other days his ugly duckling on whom he never had a firmer grip. I was like a kite in his hands and I sailed with the wind. Going missing every first day I set foot at every new port – Munich, Zurich and Heathrow.
To Elon, I am a rolling ball bouncing off into unexplored frontiers. I am that boisterous girl unbounded by my colour, unabashed by ridiculous spite and vociferous for the needed change. The girl who would fuss at any bias, seething through my teeth with disdain.
Our late night strolls create a fuse of a nice muse, his hands on my waist, two humans, two colours, white and black- we create a jealous harmony.
To granny, I am her pride. Her tumtum broni. Her hands have always been eager to
rummage through my afro and twist and twirl with yarns. Even my gibberish attempt to speak my mother tongue, she comprehends. And she responds with brilliance.
And to my neighbours, I am the black girl with the black cat, who soaks in afro-beats by day and drowns in reggae at night.
A person is many things to many people. And to my people, I am unconventionally many things
Being an avid reader from childhood, young Ghanaian writer Charlotte Derby’s exposure to the works of classical writers the likes of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott got her intrigued. African writers like Chinua Achebe and Ama Darko have also shaped her writing style and delivery.
She has always desired to be a writer. Her membership with Ink Up, a club for young writers and poets in 2018 stirred her passion for writing.
She currently has a blog post on medium where she pens down her thoughts and works.
Taking a cue from novelists such as John Grisham and Sidney Sheldon she aspires to be a novelist specializing in criminal based non-fiction.
Her dream is to be a best-selling author someday.
Originally published November 27, 2023