Literary Zone

Sierra Leonean poet Elizabeth L. A. Kamara

13 March 2021 at 22:26 | 3121 views

Elizabeth Kamara was born and bred in Sierra Leone and teaches at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone where she is Head of the English Unit, Department of Language Studies. Here is one of her most recent poems on International Women’s Day:

Do they even know it’s their day?

For all Unsung Women on the International Day of Women 2021

Oh women of the Sierra
Who till the land
And labour from sunrise to sunset
To breathe and be
Do you even know it’s your day?

Do you even know it’s your day?
Women who keep bees
And sell the honey to sweeten lives
Women stung by life
To mould lives
Oh women of the Sierra, do you know it’s your day?

Women of the Sierra
Who eat after your husbands’ full
Who split firewood with young on backs
Who walk miles and miles to farm
Who breathe only when allowed
Who talk only when allowed
Who rest only when allowed
Do you even know, that today is your day?

And you
Who break your backs and bones
To mine stones
You who transform living trees into coal
In the scorching sun you eat
In the sweat of your face you eat
Do you know
That today is your day?

You who march up and down as though on patrol
Your hair a porcupine
Your beauty hidden beneath your bags and rags
Your once clear mind now a dustbin or sieve
Your soul trapped between mountains of abuse
Yesterday’s beatings and psychological torture
Broke the strings of your heart
And today?
Do you know,
That today is your day?

Do you know that today is your day ?
Your nos made no difference to his yeses
Your clothes he stripped
Your dignity he stripped
Your soul he stripped
The smell of his skin chases you in dreams
His hands that bound yours
As he took you
Again and again,
He took you
Do you know that today is your day?

Oh women of the Sierra
Who live on the margins of society
Whose rivers of tears never dry
Whose pain is ever fresh
Lazarus-like your lives are empty
One day you will celebrate
Joyfulness will crown your essence