Kweku Atta Crayon

(17th October,1990 / Prestea-Western Region of Ghana)

Class 3 Printing Fee


He stood in a tired uniform
Well ironed and tucked
And his shorts fusiform
Today was exams day
and he couldn't wait to write

He walked to Mum in her room
for the usual morning blessings
But His Mum tried to tell him
that he probably should stay home
He bowed his head and she threw her eyes away
They both knew why, and why it was best to stay

But He knew what to say
To tell his teacher's cane
and his mates who might laugh again
Of why he will write but can't pay

His Mother knew this would be another day
when her second child will end education
And chase after life around the traffic light
She sensed the aroma of history
Repeating itself today and tried harder to keep him at home
But the little boy went to school
ready to tell all about why he will write but can't pay

They were many kids
All seated in arranged lines
and he saw the blank desk.
It was Obvious Kweku wouldn't come

One by one, the teacher
inspected their printing fee receipts
Some showed a full year, others for the term
And he sat there hoping to do magic

At last the teacher got to his desk
And every child was searching
With their faces covered with laughs
An old story, he will be thrown out again
And certain he knew today was a landmark

Show me your receipt, the T requested
If you don't have go home, a boy retorted
No printing fee, no paper, another dared to shout
And now, they all teased

'am sorry you will have to go home'
He stood up and looked backed
Opened his mouth as if to cry and again he shut
'Go on, do you have anything to say? ', the T asked

In tears, he closed his eyes
Clapped both palms together
And like a humble prayer, he said

'I don't want to be like Kwabena, my elder brother
who lost his education on this same day
and whose daily bread is now oven
by the red light on the street.

I don't want my mother to keep wishing for graduates
Yet cries to the truth that she couldn't afford one
I don't want any of my mates here
think am dumb without a chance to prove myself

Don't talk of my father, he is long resting
And heaven is far away from earth
He too had a task for me, become an engineer
Please Sir, Allow me education
One day we both won't regret.

This minute, you are deleting a future
This minute, you can create a destiny
This minute break the rules
To make an engineer, and Heaven will smile.
This is my humble plea'

He opened his eyes to his ultimate dismay
Every eye was already flooding
and the teacher apologized and promised him his help henceforth.

Her Mum, took the exams question paper
and asked; how did you do it?

Now he is a civil engineering student
An Award winning Poet.
and the author of this particular piece.

Submitted: Friday, January 17, 2014
Edited: Saturday, January 18, 2014

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