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A collection of contemporary poetry by Edward Kwame Yankson

A collection of contemporary poetry by Edward Kwame Yankson


Dear Freetown

The earthquake of my birth

Sleepless nights scar’d me to unknown lands

The Inspector-General of Police chatted with robbers

Who dined at my house

With irons that kill


The advent dinner I was told

Spared no believer

Bloody wine served

With fleshy communion

For a midnight baptism

Attended by John the Baptist

But St. Lucifer


A City illuminated; as neon lights blind me

Deafened with melodious tunes of Tiger machines

Through Congo cross, lightning speed

Recorded only by the blues

For the dust bin book of records

Announced with apologies

In the new budget



I lov’d you twice

Without my number on your dice

To cast my lot for the price,

I lately paid.

Through windows and through curtains I spied

Craving for your busy face


Ebun, goddess of love and beauty

Under the sun, I oft’ kneel

To pray for thy smile

On a sunny day shine


Chastity is thy virtue,

Honesty is thy pride,

Humility is thy joy.

Ebun, my dream.



My sister

Went to fetch water for the evening meal

Bullets riddled her dress and her bucket cried

Alsatians smelt her blood to make sure she died

Nobody told me it was war

Peeping through the walls

Of my “panbody” house


Khaki boys in tattered tax payer’s calico

Sang songs of praises

For their leader Kweigor

My sister died

She wrote dirges that I sang

Every morning


My voice ran through

The barrels of machine guns

Until I was told by the birds

That it was a war



The sun smiled

At dawn to give me joy

For another day born

The cacophony of intermittent siren blasts

Drove my children to school

Penniless and bowels empty

Clapping for the “blessed” sons of the land

Darkness waved to my memory lost

Moon whispered Hope in my ears

As I received the Blessed Sacrament

In the church of salvation

I saw heaven



Our hands fertilize the womb of earth

Singing songs of pride

In spite of the desolate villages of torn Kailahun

Our hope preserved in roots of cocoa trees

From the mines of Koidu, Mokanji,

To the factories of Wellington, Dworzack   farm

Coins will be reborn under our bright steps

‘cause from the Bible our wisdom inspires.



Listen comrades of this struggling generation

Heed the clamour of a brother

In a rodent cage

Where rebellions go unrewarded

They killed Vamba in Freetown

As they killed Musu in Bomaru

And Kpana in Pujehun

The wounds of their broken bodies

Inject hope in my bosom

For fear fetches sorrow

Therefore I fear not

Every morn, I wake up

Hypnotized with the shadows of a rainbow

Waiting to talk to me

I feel his tongue on my dreams

Wake up! Wake up! He shouts

Echos of sobs ran past my ears.

Think about tomorrow,

Yesterday belongs to the dead

Lament not.



Bullets woke me up at 5 in the cold Harmattan dawn

With the reminiscent rumble of guts

Diving for safety between kitchens and toilets in February last year

My eyes shadowed with insurgent rifles

Battled the flashy lights

Of West Side boys.


Victory chants religiously sung

Bullets played organs for the congregation

Choristers in pool of blood

Chanted dirges for drugged pastors

The amputated Choir Master

Directed rhythms from the rear

For the early communion


It is January 6

Gutters littered with decomposed bodies

You must decide today, tomorrow,

Bear responsibility, refine ideas

Read books on escape strategy

Imams read the bible,

Pastors read the Quoran

Blessings received from Satan


Connaught littered with classless bodies

Whose funeral were organized by vultures

Drew tears from my sister’s eye

In the land of the Whiteman

From afar, two Ministers lay in bloody camouflage

The chaffinch wept on January 6.


MAY 25

The church bell rang

Through the bazooka’s bang

On a bright and beautiful Sunday

Worshippers under their beds converge

To pray for divine grace


The joy of Sunday

Shone on every soldier’s face

It was proclamation of a novel deity

From the black tank

Where youths converge to smoke wee

And rule the country through smoke


Children became parents

Directing the aged kids

With the barrels of their guns


And made them athletes

Racing for unknown medals

To unknown destinations

At the May 25 Olympic Horror day run



I served the government

With a holy heart

Full of lively dreams

Like a journey to heaven’s path

Thorny though it is


Others have crossed the wildest path

With horrible experiences to tell

About greedy heads

To bureaus assigned


I learnt to drive

On these rough paths

Without hitting rocks

Of granite made


Red carpets lay wait

For my suits salute

As I take the driving seat

Of the government served



A bright and beautiful day

Cushioned by a gentle breeze

Blowing from the ocean’s wing

Streets glitter with coloured lanterns

Passing by the historic cotton tree

To tell his age


44 years of peace and turmoil

44 years of hope and despair

In the pool of independence

Floating dreams pervade

The exalted green, white and blue

On the pole of peace


From the palm tree

Inspiration of peace derived

And selfishness denied

Out of good sense

To cancel the devil’s dinner

Held under the sun

On my father’s 30th birthday



We waited for 186 days

Under the arms of Wusum hills

To keep us alive

From the rude sun

Around the Peninsular


Kids play with anxiety

Windows closed

To get the warmth

Of “bormeh” in the rains

Incensed for sanity

In the East of Freetown


Minds linger why the rains

Are so humble to mosquitoes

That distress dreamy ears

In the dark abode



Oh! Poverty

Who created you?

From whose womb do you emerge?

In whose house were you nurtured?

What daughter of eve reared you?

And what age are you now?

You the people’s oppressor

Bringer of ill fortune, malnutrition, starvation

Street beggars, street hawkers, street Orchins you create

And by day multiply

To fight your woes

Oh! Poverty, Oh! Poverty

Your presence erodes education, good health…

Oh! Poverty

You break homes

You break age old relationships

Oh! Poverty I hate to see you



He is nothing

But a mortal being with flesh and bones

Carrying the burdens of mankind

In his heart

To make things better


Like a candle upon a hill he stood

For all to see

And traverse the path

That leads to illumination


See him talk on stage

Watch him dance in the street

Listen him talk over the radio

All this he does to

Illuminate the minds of mankind


See him grieve when

Society goes wrong

Watch him laugh

When things go right

For he is always ready to help

Bring it back to normalcy


Like a flag bearer

He stands against ills of society

Ready and ever vigilant

To condemn and criticize

But quickly provide solutions

To problems that beset society.



Women fly like kite

While love in time grows

Within deceptive eyes.

Sincerity in their hearts ferment

For those they cherish most

Listen them speak

But watch their lips shake

For on their lips the truth lies.


Reservoir of fortune they possess

For God made them so

Mirror of man’s weaknesses and follies

The barometer of man’s growth

Choose them out of good judgment

For a befitting funeral



How lonely lies our darling

That was full of exuberance

Like a widow she has become

Though great among equals she was

To Germany 2006 a dream unfulfilled.


She that was a heroine now a beggar

Bitterly she weeps with non to comfort her

Sympathy gone to replace love for European soccer

All her fans now her enemies

A withered face she bears

Tired of watching colleagues

Play for fortune

Weakness sweeps her muscles

For lack of practice


Our cherished apple of national unity

Be not dejected

For days of joy ahead to come

When laughter shall be your breakfast

At the next world Cup finals.



Varieties of lotion share

With an elbowed hold

Joyous occasions and sadness share

Amid the serenity of all seasons


Children sing lullabies

Over your head

Adults talk politics

Over your head

In the evening of all seasons


You are at times hot,

And sometimes cold

But most times hot

And most times cold


You father all ages,

Suckle all toddlers,

And teach them how to talk when hungry.



The President knows me

The President knows you

The President knows when I am hungry

The President knows when you are hungry


The President knows when fuel is scarce

The President knows when rice is scarce

The President knows who the sycophants are

When he wants to be bad

The President knows everything

But knows nothing

‘cause he does not know his enemies.



An unfortunate creation

A street walker

Her father a drunkard

And liar

Her mother a debtor.


Do not blame her,

Poor prostitute

In the slums of Kroobay

She was brought up

By a single parent

Though  many a stepfather

She sees

Kissing her mother

On the cane bench

Or the community field


Unfortunate prostitute

Sleeps in guest houses,

Hotels, brothels to make room for her nocturnal fathers

Called Uncles in Krio parlance


© All rights reserved EDWARD KWAME YANKSON

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