Five African Haiku (Afriku) Pt. 4 by Adjei Agyei-Baah

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

roadside beggar
he waits for the traffic
to turn red

caked lagoon
migratory waves–
home again

sunken grinding stone
stories told of herbs
that made us men

crossroad —
across an ant path
a snail wet trail

lights return
the cheers of kids
stamp out the crickets

Note from the author: Yes, it’s true that my haiku does not conform to the traditional Japanese syllabic structure of 5-7-5 or the short-long-short (SLS) approach of three line arrangement. In fact, mine is the modern haiku type or the American style which does not strictly follow the usual conventional structure but still works within the acceptable syllable count of the maximum 17 syllables limit.

“Afriku” is my own poetry invention for Africa. It is a coinage from two words “Africa” and “haiku”. But it is not much of a difference from the traditional Japanese haiku. It is a haiku form which basically draws extensively on African images, symbols and settings.

This concept is explored in the article “A New Type of Poetry Has Just Been Created, Right Here In Ghana!” This collection of five Afriku are the 4th part of a longer series.


Photo of Adjei Agyei-Baah

Adjei Agyei-Baah is a founding partner of Poetry Foundation Ghana, a teacher, and lecturer for Serwaa Nyarko Girls Senior High School, Kumasi and Institute of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Ghana respectively. He is also the co-editor of Poetry Ink Journal, a yearly poetry anthology in Ghana. As part of his duties, he also serves as a supporting administrator for He is widely anthologized both home and abroad and among his outstanding works includes the praise songs “Ashanti” and “Ghost on Guard” written for the King of Ashanti and the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana respectively. At the international front, his poem, “For the Mountains” was selected by the BBC to represent Ghana in a Poetry Postcard Project for the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Adjei is a devotee of the Japanese poetry form haiku and has written and published in e-zines and international journals such as Frogpong, World Haiku Review, The Heron’s Nest, Shamrock, etc., is one of the top winners of 3rd Japan–Russia Haiku Contest 2014, organized by Akita International University, and the recipient of the Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Award. Adjei is currently working on KROHINKO, an anthology of poems from the Ghana Poetry Prize Contest, 2013 and looks forward to publishing two of his poetry collections this year. Adjei is married to Pansiwaa and blessed with two boys.