Poetry October 23, 2014

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Liberia’s New Civil War

By Kenneth Y. Best, Jr.

(A Poem, Inspired by the Daily Observer Editorial: ‘Caring For Our Ebola Orphans’)

This is the new civil war, fought by an unseen, chemical enemy

Raging across West Africa and stretching towards the places we think of when dreaming of peace and security

No one knows how long we will fight and what it will take to win

Many don't know the names of the thousands who have met their dreadful end

And just like our previous, not so distant civil war,

This too will take advantage of all its orphaned children –

The real survivors: their small, strong bodies and brave souls, independent but vulnerable

Which army will they join? What kinds of weapons will they hold?

What will be their legacy? What will they be told when they are left alone, or when strangers come to hold them?

Will families come to their rescue? Or will they be left to the care of those strangers, who seek to comfort their souls?

Or will predators snatch them away into danger, to abuse and control?

And what of their siblings, cousins and friends who succumb to the fate of their parents – who will bury them?

If they do survive and are yet unable to tell, who will be their voices?

Who will be the buckets that dip into those wells? And what shall come up?

Who will give them chances, and what shall be their choices?

Mama's market won't sell; she just buried her oldest child and

All her neighbors have shunned her, so the younger must go hungry awhile

Nurses will not take them in; hospitals are too full, or vacant –

Overflowing with infected patients or emptied from being overrun

In the on-going crises of uncontainable contamination

A terrified, angry, suspicious population defending their habitations will riot

While the invisible enemy triggers mistrust along community lines,

like villages surrounded by wild fires

So now, mama can't even go to the next town to buy food, let alone sell

Survival all over again is the only pastime, and time will tell if the past will repeat itself

In the meantime,

NO hugs

NO kisses

Not even a secret handshake,

Or barely a long look of sincere affection for comfort's sake

Got to watch who’s behind or beside you; can’t see who’s next to fall

Imagine the pain of a parent whose child has been denied

Or the horror of a child whose parent has just died

How quick the transition from a hospital door to death’s dark corridors

An invisible enemy has broken down nations, ravaged communities, and decimated families

And they are saying that a cure is hard to come by…because over here, we’re too poor

We haven’t even begun to hear the children crying, or to see the coming rage in their eyes, or the after effects of their growing up and asking us, “Why”?

The new civil war has hit closer to home and caused more damage in shorter time than any previous calamity ever known in West Africa

And its name is Ebola: so dangerous, so silent

We have not known this scale of war before; maybe the Native

Americans of June 1763, or the Tuskegee Airmen of the Jim Crow era – but no, not us…not we

No overthrow was required – in fact, it infiltrated our government,

Broke down economies and evaporated the poor; even global markets are affected

Preparedness and awareness were the initial casualties, then came mass suffering as people just expired

The desperate cries for help, the bodies in the streets, African doctors killed in action against this enemy

While foreign doctors live to escape – somehow, we’re disconnected from a better fate

And the media coverage of this epidemic, so demeaning, as if some of us don’t know what’s really going on – we see through the silver screen, but dimly

And as if we brought this on ourselves…

But then again, who’s to say that we didn’t? Can God’s anger be questioned?

Can we hold back the scourge? Can we still learn our lessons?

Eric Duncan would have testified, but he didn’t live to tell of his own survival;

It will be those of his household who tell it for him, and not to his revival

So: to aspiring nurses protecting yourselves and healing your families, God bless you

I pray that in some way, God will make it so I can help you

To all the Ebola Orphans, I hope to one day give you better names

Than the stigmas this war has placed upon you for your shame

I wish to bring you hugs, put you on airplanes,

Not to quarantine but to give you the love that you’re used to, or haven’t yet received

And sweeter dreams than the nightmares you are living,

Higher truths than the lies you are forced to believe

You are our future, our heritage – not another national emergency

The Lord said He would make thy plagues wonderful,

Because of the sins of your forefathers – and so He has, indeed

But children, my heart is with you urgently in this heavy fight for your life

Because you are all loved and

BECAUSE ALL OF US ARE RESBONSIBLE

Each one of us is accountable for the least of our people, as taught by Christ

And through all this, His eyes watch diligently from above

As we struggle day by day with the silent killer, Ebola, in this New

Liberian Civil War

 

Time

By: Lekpele Nyamalon

Oh time and time only

Who can trust you?

I dare not do, or I’ll be lonely

No one dares, only you.

When the sun smiles

You’ll just show up- the journey begins

Soaring above slowly as you rise

While we hurry to meet your flapping wings

Thou art the holder of fate

Only thy arms holdeth the hours

And thy breadth and mind knoweth the date

When we miss you, our time here is only a tour

 

Scars of a tired nation

By: Lekpele Nyamalon

What more can a country take?

Stories of children that can’t live in peace

Treating each other like strangers from afar

The sons returning and the ones they met

Fighting for a space left by Mama

1980-panic splashed upon the face of Africa’s oldest child

Bringing down the walls a century high

Building another 100ft higher

Shaking to shreds young old mama

Promising her a lie to leave her alone

What a tired country she has become

Standing alone on a continent she blossomed

Left alone by countries she led to Independence

A troubled house is always lonely

Such a land she stands to be

Her place in history forgotten by men of time

Left to maggots and bugs to chew

And spit into history’s shredder

Her prints erased from the archives of Africa’s glossary

And left to wander- gathering crumbs

Couldn’t her sons keep her diary

Of how generous a home she had

Giving a shelter for Africa’s neglected,

Spewing hope into a lifeless continent

Doomed by colonialism and whisked by fear?

She went in shock and comatose

For 14years her eyes couldn’t blink nor wink

Only ears of thunder and terror

With a sigh of relief to live again

Her candle is lit in a thunderstorm

The scars of a tired nation are eating up again

The face of EBOLA shatters the dream

To put together a wretched, lonely life

Could this scar flip into a star?

And shine forever?

 

Voice of a Ghost

By: Eric G. Gbanlon (0886220513)

As I cried and rolled in ashes,

They stood and started to boast;

With my blood at the brim of their glasses,

They laughed and began to toast.

Allowing my organs to rot in separate places,

Was that which hurt me the most;

Like paint, my blood besmeared the bushes

Like rocks, my bones filled the coast.

The work is done, it’s time for wages

In equal measures, we eat what we roast;

They ate me; they are human-phages,

They are now being hunted by my ghost.

 

Authors

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