|Abdulai Sheriff is a writer and poet. He attended Christ the King College and Albert Academy in Sierra Leone, and University of Ghana, Legon. He is presently the Gender Based Violence Program Manager for the Christian Children's Fund in Liberia.|
Beautiful Sierra Leone
Beautiful Sierra Leone,
My lovely motherland;
When will I see
your face again
The beautiful beaches
And silent streams;
Where water waves
And roses smile?
On the serene
beaches, Children played;
And lovers exchanged
In oblivion precious stones;
But the evil eyes of men
Which grief to inherent those stones;
Have torn you into shreds
Where no human has ever tread.
In your benevolent grief
Hypocrisy entice them;
Half-laughing, Half-weeping, Half-dancing
Glinting crocodile's tears at LomÃ©.
Beautiful Sierra Leone
Our lovely motherland;
Open your arms
your siblings embrace
Thirsty, hungry, angry
In some strange lands.
Song of Sorrow
You made me mourn by scattered corpses,
With swollen cheeks and broken eyes;
My Yewah is no more.
Her indelible blood has reddened the gardens,
And her bowels hug the cotton tree;
I cannot talk to her again;
She won't have the ears to hear.
My brothers and sisters,
Do you think I can forget that ungodly Sunday?
How can I pray,
For those hunted memories to disappear?
The shadow refuses to go away;
My dear Yewah died so full of grace;
Such love, such dove
Yes, such an innocent soul,
You defiled under the clock tower.
I can't believe she is gone,
My love, my queen, my companion?
The song of sorrow beats my timid heart;
But like an impetuous child
Yewah's ghost appeared and plead to me-
That vengeances is for God.
Diamond may buy me a house,
And get me a beautiful horse;
Spread roses on my caress bed,
And keep my family well fed;
But if I should again dig a mine;
I will be out of my mind,
To embrace this precious charm
That brought me nothing but harm.
WE sit by the cemetery
On our mourning mats;
Our tears thick as frozen breeze
Overflow the dead Mano
And the pain in our eyelashes
Delude our taste for groundnut soup.
WE whisper your brave gallops
The strong odour clustered our mouth
under the stadium walls;
Our hands stretched out on agony mats
And that Sunday a bitter holy day,
But under such sea of agonies
You brought back our dignity.
You have gone away too soon
With heroic dews still dancing on your head;
This departure tortured our indispensable hopes
And tingle our vivacious heads again;
You are not gone back to Nigeria
Where a telegram could be send
Or a plane ask to bring you back.
Your siblings in Sierra Leone
Plead unheeded before the cemetery;
Our feet tremble against the cemetery
Awaiting morning without certainty;
Though you have gone away to an immortal world,
WE shall never forget the beat of your Lion heart.
How can I fly into the dark blue sky,
One covered with roses for birds to pick?
Love set golden wings ablaze like the twinkling stars;
But a soaked bat I have become,
And wet-of-wing have glue me low.
How can I fly into the beaming moon
One which comes forth like the August rain?
Love turns faded gaze into a shinning star;
But the storm has broken my precious wings,
And wet-of-wings have glue me low.
How can I enjoy the joy of life
One so lovely like the morning breeze?
Love spreads its wings like the harmattan blanket;
But the heat has destroyed my innocent wings,
And I grope into the dark without a wing to fly.
She was not created by God to be a refugee,
Except that some greedy hands took away her lovely cover;
Their anxious faces never want to fade,
Leaving her with bitter smiles hard to hide.
She has sad news to tell;
How sorrows like arrows fell,
Upon innocent souls in far away camps,
Which can be seen from many miles.
Her beauty got lost;
And she is now a living ghost,
That drinks the bewitched spill,
To keep herself in a condemned cell.
You and I
She embraces my embalm love,
Like the cloud caressing an innocent dove;
The dark dream loses its grisp off me,
And my resurgence nightmare sleep on the cold frame.
Her soothing hand has silence the night rain,
And her wings like the grasses by the Sewa
Have made mats for men to sleep;
But these mats were not made in the burnt villages,
Where our old men were flogged and mocked,
And our grandmothers loose their vows at the sight of a gun.
But they were made for you and I,
When we did not changed to sobels;
They bind up those broken pieces,
And bring back the pictures of lower prices.
I See Your Tears
I see you tears,
As it falls into the Rokel;
I see it so clear,
As it hurts like burning gas
And you refuse to see.
In those possessed tears
I overhear a wailing ghost,
Singing melancholy songs which slash my heart;
And I see vengeance perched in crown,
Like an invoked spirit in a shrine.
I see your tears,
As it frowns at the scattered graves,
I see it so clear;
Its insistent fall sheaves slit open our wounds;
The cries faint our trapped minds,
And coiled us in mocked graves.
No longer pour those tears
As the candles are finished,
But bedragged them into your eyes again;
Let them roll into infant hopes;
The charm of love drench in gold,
Reborn to cover our bleached memories.
Weep Not Sister
Weep not sister,
For the death of the evil child;
His birth made us chill,
And our neighbours gossip us on the stream paths.
Weep not sister
As a new child is born,
Who brings along new hopes;
His radiant smiles will awaken our dead hopes,
Which had been buried into the deep sea.
We won't have to fear nightfall,
As it has melted away like the freezing cold;
Its trunk of horror has perished,
And the train of impunity has been buried.
When we return to our country,
Let us take along this art of poetry;
Such fragrance will bury our grudges,
And the helpless will drop their crutches.
When we walk the shy Siaka Steven street,
Let us wear smiles to greet;
Such open mind and blank slate,
And a daily handshakes on a clean plate.
When we eat a delicious meal,
Let us have some hungry throats heal;
Such sharing hands will entice peace,
And the stired confusion will cease.
When we have this poem written,
Let us not twice be bitten;
Such stubborn head will bring back destruction,
And awaken our sad prostration.
The War is Over
The war is over,
Faces are calm and cover,
Chill as the harmattan termite
And guns lay powerless and polite.
The war is over,
Guns burnt and buried;
But our limbs hang on fallen trees,
And the night bird whisper the agonies.
The war is over,
Hands cover naked faces,
And the sick demon collapse before the burnt church;
But content with this shortsleeve,
I embraces my adversary.
Many years have rolled by,
since the cruel hand snatched him away;
The news devoured the abandoned baby,
And left us a debt unable to repay.
We can hear the whisper-
of the lovely days spent together;
Your courage unbroken and well,
Inside the depth of the rich hell.
The invisible messenger has no pity
To have stolen our covering shield;
When bullets drum hard upon the open city,
And gain possession of the pregnant field.
Shall it be so again,
Call not on an independent day,
To walk on red carpet as ordain;
But greed sparkled along the way,
Leaving blood shot eyes to ask unanswered questions behind bars?
Together as twin you consumed your preys,
And happy hands greeted you along Lumley beach;
Never till now, you stand apart,
Which leaves us scattered without rest.
We were told the tongue and teeth must not part,
But will this saying sink into the air?