Friday, January 16, 2009

Telling Our Stories - Two Ghanaian Voices on First Love

I really can't write poetry. All I know how to do is write about life. So I wrote about my first love, and posted it on Facebook. Then another Ghanaian woman sent me her poem about her first love after reading mine. I've decided to post both poems here. I'll share hers first and then mine. It'd be interesting to hear the same story from male voices. hint.

First Love. Written by Ababaawa

I fought it all the way
Not because I wanted to
But because I had taught myself to
Without ever knowing why
Your friendship was honest
Your gentleness was disarming
And even as I made jokes
About how badly I was treating you
As I pretended I was in control
Soon, even strangers could tell I was lost

When I did lose you
I came undone
Not because you left me
But because I pushed you away
When I told you I was done
I lied through the wry smile
Without really knowing why
But your honest eyes
Told me you saw it coming
And they told me
You didn’t resent me
You had just learned to love me
For my self imposed crazy

These days when I think of you
I set aside the false bravura
The fierce and sometimes cruel ways I resisted
And focus on the few days
When I let my guard down
And your smile told me you knew
But let me have my way anyway
The days when I didn’t have the strength to fight
And basked in the fiery warmth of your
“Oh my God, that was good!” kind of love
The times when all the clichés were true for us
In a surprisingly, refreshing
And just plain nice way

These days I put aside
The memory of unnecessary fights
The “pssww I don’t love him” and the
“He’s not the man I’m thinking of forever with” moments
I ignore the small knot of pain
Somewhere below my left breast
Of seeing you realize that perhaps
I was too far gone
For you to receive what you gave

These days, I am thankful I had you
I am sorry I hurt you
I don’t wish to relive it
Not with you at least
For going back won’t change the past
But I look forward to the next one
With whom I can share something special
The one with whom I will take what you taught me
And apply in oh so many good ways
To show that if someone risks his heart
And all that is left is your resistance
You let go. As much as you can bear
You let go and let yourself live
In the exquisite sweet pain
Of that shared love
First Love. Written by Maameous
They say that I loved you too much
That I pushed you away
Smothered you with my love
That when you cheated on me,
then came back to tell me about it
You wanted me to fight for you
But still I gave you more

I gave you my heart, my love, my everything
Your friends were hitting on me
But I never betrayed you
Even when I knew you were messing around
Still went to bed thinking of you
And that’s why they gave me the talk like I was the crazy one
They were teaching me this thing called trade
I traded in true love, for something phony, baby

I did not fall in love with an image
Did not fall in love with what I thought you were
Or what you would become
I fell in love with you as you were
You caught me on a good day,
Hook, line and sinker
If you were a cheating, uncaring man
Then I loved you on that day
If you were a sweet loving man,
I loved you just the same

It wasn’t the type of man you were that I loved
Wasn’t the idea of you that I wanted
I loved you
Back then I knew for better for worse
Didn’t need no church or ceremony to learn that
But now I got to learn it again
And have it be a chore for me
Just like it be for all these people
Trying to exit with what the good book said
Looks like my heart grew cold
When I wasn’t looking

Maybe it died because I was doing it like everyone else
Doing this trade thing
Looking at a man’s qualities like he be on the market
Instead of removing dem qualities and experiencing him
I had no demands, no conditions
But as we grow, we learn when to stop loving
They told me a man doesn’t deserve me if he acts a certain way
Like we can ever deserve love
Like love can be regulated
More for you, you were good today
No love, today, my baby, you don’t deserve me

So I learned to lie and keep secrets
In case he was not really in love with me
In case he was really just chasing some image
Since there was no love unconditional
In this new world they were showing me
Such love was only a part of the old world I’d created for us
And by that point, you have to admit, baby
You were treating me like a commodity

So the good friends they were
They told me how to feel
Did not remember to ask me how I actually felt
I know I should have spoken up
But I didn’t want to seem like another
Woman making excuses for a brother
I got the feeling after a while
I was the one needed fixing up
I was the one making you act sick
So I fixed myself pretty good

In the new world
My man told me
If I ever did what you did
He would leave me and never look back
He said the good book said he could
Goosebumps crawling over my skin
Didn’t have the heart to ask what he woulda said
If the good book had said something better
Maybe he had a recipe
And this dish he was cooking
Required a smart fun woman
And if this woman was a little bruised, he could deal
But if this woman was a different way,
His love would evaporate, honey

I shoulda told them the truth
That when you left, I wasn’t hurting or even broken
Even though I hadn’t had enough of you
Never could get tired of you
I lied and pretended to be oh so sad
I caught on really quickly too
If a man didn’t call, you got angry
I started to pretend that you hurt me bad
just to make me look normal

What I didn’t know then
They didn’t understand me
They’d never loved this deep
Or maybe they’d also just learned the same formula
Taught them by someone who also learned it the same way
Never once listening to their own hearts
Baby, I started listening to myself again
Examining my own thoughts, my own feelings,
not just what the feminists say I should feel
I finally stopped trying to be something else
Wanting to be somewhere else
Wanting to be anything
When I never even figured out what I am

Baby, I am twenty five next month
I could give you one regret for every year I've lived
but only one has to do with you
I regret that I have not loved more people as I loved you
That I haven't loved enough
I regret chasing after some ideal
Someone else’s idea of what love ought to be
After they asked themselves what they liked

Baby I’m writing because I lost it
I’m desperate to love recklessly
Same way I loved you,
Before I stopped listening to my heart
When it wasn’t about how you loved me
But only about how well to love you

I'd love to see comments that compare and contrast the two poems...but feel free to comment as you please.


  1. Found your piece so tearfully sentimental (not in a bad way). I wrote a poem on first love in secondary school. I will find it in one of my manuscripts and let you see it. It was simple and straightforward. In fact, I wrote two. One was entitled First Love, and the other, First Blush!

  2. both are very deep! but my question is: why do u ladies always think u'll ever find the perfect man? u live too much in "wonder world"...Ok! and the couple lived happily ever after...hmmmmmmm is it even possible?

  3. Esi, nice always stirs some things...some...things... but surely @amevi makes me crack my ribs...


  4. In a smooth way both poems sort of discover true love in their first love. Your poem is realistic and frighteningly factual. Most women loose true love after their first love. We love best when we love first, but in the few rare occasions when we self examine and transform we love best when love lasts. Bravo Esi and Ababaawa

  5. @Nana Yaw, I've love to read your own poem about first love. Actually if you don't mind, you could guest-blog on Wo Se Ekyir and post that love poem:) Okay, feel free to say no but the invitation stands whenever you're ready.

    @Amevi, your comment cracked me up but i don't think my problem has been in trying to find the perfect man but in trying to find the perfect love. The perfect man does not exist but maybe what we find harder to let go of is the possibility of finding the perfect love. What do you think?

    @Novisi, love stirs some it should.

    @Kwaku, I couldn't have said it better. I was speaking with a friend who had read the two poems and he asked whether i thought i could love again like i did that first time and i said no. never. I can love again, yes, but never like that. He said he couldn't either and proceeded to share that he thinks when we love the first time, we have a fantasy and once that fantasy is shattered, we realise that love isn't really like that.Perhaps that's a good thing. Maybe we become more realistic in our expectations of where that love will take us.

  6. First and foremost please remember I wrote this poem over eight years ago when I was still a student trying to find his way. I boarded a taxi with my ex and we didn't even talk to each other. Years after, she tells me she actually didn't see me. Here is the Poem. Please consider it from a 24 year old's perspective:


    I hear in some cultures
    The dead are burnt along
    With all they ever had.

    Today, I saw the cremation
    Of 6 pure years occur in my chest.

    She was in the taxi's front seat.
    I got into the back seat.
    "Good Morning." I greeted
    All responded.


    No "how are yous."
    No "long time no sees."

    She alights some where.
    No "good byes."
    No "see yous."

    She is another man's now
    I, another woman's.
    Nana Kofi Acquah

    Copyright ©2009 Nana Kofi Acquah

  7. Wow, Nana Kofi, it's brilliant! 24 did you say? I like. It could be juxtaposed with the two by the two great women poets above, although it is not directly in answer.

  8. I've dated a few men,
    I've loved fewer of them,
    but somehow your poems make me wonder,
    Did I love them enough,
    Or did I love myself more?

  9. Esi, as I promised, this is my version.
    Its not good but my first write up afte 5 to 6 years.
    Thank You, you've encouraged me!!!!!!!!

    My First Love
    For a while, he didn’t exist,
    Not a flicker ,nor a speck,
    Not a dot, nor a ray,
    He was just………nothing.

    The next moment, he was,
    A most spontaneous appearance,
    And I….I was in my most rotten moods,
    An unpleasant meeting, yet a pleasant friendship,
    Ever, since, he’s been …….there.

    From then, now and forever, he is there,
    A love innocently packaged in a flurry of activities;
    Studying, Chatting, Seeing each other off repeatedly
    A love spanning almost three years,
    He was…………… world.

    The ego of men that cannot take a woman’s success,
    The passage of time and its various opportunities,
    The interference of family and friends; Pierced our love,
    Yet , Still, He is……………there,
    But, a friend only, holding my hand as I, his,
    Cos we know best; first love can never be replaced.

  10. Esi, this will require a second look--you're smart so enjoy.
    The Algebra of "lovemetrics"--The First.

    E comes before S

    That's understandable

    Since E and X have known each other longer

    E *X equals a team

    Interwined in companionship

    But who is S?

    Some say she's lovely and very romantic (more than E)

    That's understandable

    Since S is ahead of E in cumming

    Others say S is a sum of what X makes her

    That's understandable

    Since beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder

    Then, what if E increases exponentially to surpass S?

    E*X would then equal a greater team

    Intertwined in blissful passions and passionate upcummings

    Now if X changes variables to equation (2)

    Well, that will be understandable

    Since S*X equals a new solution to a problem

    What if S

    Seduces X

    And SX are joined together

    Because of convenience (S and X being in the same college)

    So that EX now has no meaning

    Then what if X decides that E

    Lives too far away

    So allows S to jump in front of EX (as in S*EX)

    Will that solve the problem?

    Perhaps not! Perhaps yes!(oh my poor aching head)

    Oh, if only E played the saxophone more

    Then all this problem could be well defined!!!

    Perhaps E should let things be and let EX be EX's!

  11. *(anonymous)--Splendid piece! your integration of mathematical sense into poetic-flow is interesting--i got it...and gash I know who you are (u motown boy). Thanks for fwrding me Esi's link. She writes passionately well.

    ...and oh 'anonymous' when you releasing your 'lovemetrics series'(fbook is not enuf )

  12. Hi Esi, nice poems you've got here. Here's one I wrote in high school:


    When. You. Have. Thought.
    About my proposition
    And have the compassion
    To accept the truth
    Please inform me
    Of your decision.

    When you
    Have decided
    That your love for me
    Knows no bounds
    Please go to sea
    And keep me in mind
    In spite of the storms

    I am honest
    I tell truth
    When I talk of the sea
    For some storms
    Make some not see
    The instability of love
    Without a resting place


  13. Some really beautiful pieces in this post, both blog entry itself and replies.

    Have decided to 'de-lurk' after stalking this blog the past week. I used to write poetry aaaaalll the time in secondary school, it became a bit of an obsession. But then I stopped coz I began to think that it was a wierd habit for some ridiculous reason I no longer recall.

    Anyways, it's a huge relief to see that God makes copies of every passion.

  14. ...I swear my eyes have become tears!!!
    Love, love, love,love...and people who write soo beautifully. I could just do a copy-paste-publish action and I would be soo famous --(ly sued!!!, lol).

    Good read!

  15. I am fortunately still with my first love who also happens to be my High School[or SSS ] sweetheart. First love is surely filled with so much bliss and I still remember those moments. Several years later we still stayed together. Sometimes I laugh at how cruel I was to her during our first year in SSS on the Akuapem hills.