An Ashanti poem from Ghana, an extract from a drum poem in praise of the river God Tano, addressed as “Kokon Tano” and “Birefia Tano” (see also Drum Address To The Earth Spirit).

The path has crossed the river,
The river has crossed the path,
Which is the elder?
We made the path and found the river:
The river is from long ago,
The river is from the Creator of the universe,
Kokon Tano,
Birefia Tano,
River God of the King of Ashanti:
Noble river, noble and gracious one,
When we are about to go to war
We break the news to you.
Ta Kofi, noble one,
Firampon condolences!
Ta Kofi, noble one,
The drummer of the Talking Drum says
He is kneeling before you.
He prays you, he is about to drum on the Talking Drum.
When he drums, let his drumming be smooth and steady.
Do not let him falter:
I am learning, let me succeed.

from Oral Poetry from Africa (1984)
compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White,


  1. Ta Kofi and Firampon are names of the drummer’s patron.