Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
College of Agriculture and natural Resources
Faculty of Agriculture
Engl 263: Literature in English
Poetry Appreciation Project
Title: Dawn Sketches
By : S. K. Okleme
Melenya Caleb 9836806
Ntow Okyere 9837906
Oppong frimpong 9839606
Samwini Cephas 9842106
Owusu Sekyere 9856606
The poet is Stephen Kofi Okleme a lecturer at the English department of the faculty of social science,
Kwame Nkrumah University of science and technology, Kumasi. He was one time dean of the faculty.
Among his literary works are. “Woe to Man” and “Amakom Flowers” both of which speak extensively
about women and “African novel: critical essays” published in the year 2005.
The piece is a social commentary on Christianity. Among the themes of the poem are:
EXHIBITORY CHRISTIANITY: Christians trying to “show off” the thing that they do. “Praying
loudly behind Africa Hall” from the second line of the first stanza of the poem introduces us to=o this
HYPOCRISY: one may ask, why do they choose to do this at dawn and not during the day when they
could be seen? Maybe they do not want their audience to see them because their deeds are not in
accordance to the message they preach.
EVANGELISM: also there is the theme of Christians preaching the Gospel to people so that they may
believe and be saved.
The poem “Dawn Sketches” is a social commentary about the lifestyle of many Christians in the world
as a whole but he bases mainly on their activities on KNUST campus specifically, why this assertion?
From the following:
“Praying loudly behind AFRICA HALL”,
“On the low roof of AFRICA HALL reception”
“On the field opposite the maintenance yard”
all from the second line of stanzas one, two, and three and
“While he prayed on the lawn by the photocopy unit”.
Africa Hall is a women’s hall on KNUST campus, and the Maintenance yard and photocopy unit are all
places on KNUST campus.
Thus in the poem the writer uses just a small part to talk about a whole social issue that is taking place
in the real world.
Taking stanza to stanza analysis of the poem we realize that the poet talks about a lot of issues
occurring in our society.
In the first stanza, the poem talks about a young man praying behind Africa Hall. From the second line,
we observe that he is disturbing the people who will be sleeping because day had not yet broken.
“praying loudly behind Africa Hall”
The adverb “loudly” is indicative of this point.
Also from the second stanza which reads,
“Only those two or three young men
On the low roof of Africa hall reception
Preaching tirelessly through a megaphone
One marveled why they made the ladies their audience.”
The question may be asked why did they choose to preach in Africa Hall? Could it be that the are
interested in some of the ladies in Africa Hall? Are they there to impress some ladies? Or they are there
genuinely to reach out to the lost souls in Africa? Definitely, there will be a good number of people in
all the above categories listed above. Again, from the third line we read that they preached through a
megaphone this goes to underscore the fact that they disturb those who are sleeping at that time
because it amplifies their voices not forgetting the fact that at that time of the day the atmosphere is
In the third stanza, we read also about some young men “pacing and praying fervently in tongues” on
the lawn opposite the maintenance yard. Here also we can say that these young men are discharging
their Christian duties of praying but is the lawn the best place to do that knowing that with consistent
trampling the grass will die and the aesthetic value of the lawn will be destroyed. This is an
indisciplinary act. But on the other hand their praying at that place means they will not be disturbing
anyone who will be sleeping at that time in the halls. Also it in keeping with Jesus’ example of waking
up early in the morning while it was still dark, going to a solitary place and pray (Mark 1: 35). Also,
from the last line of the stanza (3) the poet writes,
“One wondered if they would face daylight there.”
The daylight means will they get what they want there. For instance, if a student is supposed to write an
examination on that day, was he going to get the best of results if he spent all his time praying and not
learning? And perhaps praying that God works a miracle in the exam room for him, cause the lecturer
to write 71 for a mark of 17 or even binding lecturers as though they were demons.
The following stanza is what takes the issue out to the out side world, making it clear that not only
students are involved in these acts, but also non-students also do likewise. We encounter a situation
where a young man is praying on the lawn by the photocopy unit with the door of his taxi cab open. It
is good to pray but one will ask whether it was safe for the young man himself and other passersby for
him to leave the door of his taxi cab open in that public place. This is a clear act of carelessness on his
part and one may ask if he is fully attentive on the prayer he is praying, Was he not tempting people to
attempt stealing from his car? What if another car was passing by on that road? Was he going to stop
praying to shut the door? Or was he try to appear spiritual so as to attract customers? Again the issue of
indiscipline comes in here again on his praying on the lawn. This also shows his exhibitory
Christianity: praying in such an open public place.
In the last stanza, the poet (Okleme) talks about the right ways that Christains are to practice their
Christianity, he alos opens their eyes to the fact that they mostly preach in vain because their audience
are unwilling to listen to them. He admonishes us not to do our good deeds openly for men to see but
rather to do according to what the Bible says in Matthew 6.
The writer talks about Christians disturbing other students at dawn when most of them are asleep
perhaps going to bed late because they were working on assignments or something else.
People preaching the gospel of salvation to others so that they might not be lost sin forever. Some
doing it sacrificially and out of love while others may have their own reasons.
Though many Christians are doing the right things, they do these at the wrong times and normally at
Many Christians try to show off their Christianity and a portrayal of hypocricy.
LESSONS FROM THE POEM.
We learn a lot of thing from the poem among these are:
Christians in the discharge of their religious duties must endeavour to consider others and not infringe
on their rights to privacy and silence.
Christian must eschew hypocrisy
Christians must do their religious duties at the right times and places. And also not to be careless as
they do their Christian duties
Christians must act on their faith and as they pray should also do as is expected of them.
Christians must not relent in carrying the Gospel to those who have not been saved.
THE WRITER’ ART.
STRUTURE, LANGUAGE AND CHARACTER:
STANZAS: the poem has five stanzas.
LINES: each of the five stanzas contain four lines.
RHYME SCHEME: the poem is a free verse and has no rhyme scheme.
MUSICAL QUALITY: the poem has no musical quality and cannot be recited along with a beat.
The writer is sarcastic in certain instances:
“Perhaps for the ladies who might not be listening.”
The writer’s use of the word “only” could be an indication of the time he wrote the poem maybe during
the period when Ghanaians frequently used the word “only” fro instance “only your hair cut” - the
The piece is cinematic because the writer focuses his action at one spot and then moves to another.
The writer uses simple modern English in his poem, thus the poem is clear to every individual.
The poet is very observant because he studies what happens around him.
Repetition.: The use of “only” has been repeated in stanzas on through to four.
“Only that young man”
“only those two or three young men”
“only those other young men”
“Only that other young man”
The use of only shows the time in which the poem is written. It also shows that specific people are seen
doing the same things in the poem.
Hyperbole: this is the use of overstatements and exaggeration in literary works. The use of hyperbole is
seen as the writer slightly exaggerates the attitude of the young men and Christians as a whole.