Vanguard with 

Poetry: Lakayana

 - Monday 23 April 2012.

Lakayana

By Gibril Koroma, Vancouver, Canada.

See me Lakayana with my spear
Give me my knife, the knife which the old man gave me
The old man who ate my yam
the yam which I found near our house

Raka, singing lustilyand boisterously in the noon day heat
smashes fierce pebbles on weaver birds
quietly eating rice on the family farm
zoom, zoom, zoom, says Raka’s sling
Murderous pebbles scatter the birds
And Raka,
Like Lucifer, from his platform descends
gathers dead unlucky weaver birds
singing quietly to himself, singing quietly, roasts and eats them
with salt and pepper and palm oil
all alone in the family farm.

See me Lakayana with my spear
Give me my knife, the knife which the old man gave me
The old man who ate my yam
the yam which I found near our house

It’s a Monday morning in Yonibana
there goes Teacher D, the Geography teacher
one of the best at Yonibana Secondary School
loyal and dedicated YSS worker.
Finish your breakfast kids,
swallow the boiled cassava, palm oil and fish,
And run
Teacher D has just gone by,
Run
Or you will be late and get whipped
stretched on a bench or carried on Momoh’s back.

See me Lakayana with my spear
Give me my knife, the knife which the old man gave me
The old man who ate my yam
the yam which I found near our house

And now, back in the capital
my friend Paulo Mwanga was shot in the leg
by mad subaltern militariat
And then
jailed in Bambakayaka by
the green tiger.
But Paulo, undeterred, rode through the storm
cut the tiger’s tail
cut the tiger’s head
And now
Lives in peace
with his beautiful wife
Ah, Blacky, my friend and brother!

And I say

See me Lakayana with my spear
Give me my knife, the knife which the old man gave me.
The old man who ate my yam
the yam which I found near our house.

NB: Lakayana was an unforgettable hero in a story book by Oxford University Press for primary school children widely read in Sierra Leone and other African countries in the 60s. It narrated a kind of life in rural Africa that is fast disappearing. The first four lines of this poem were taken from it.

- Bambakayaka is Freetown’s notorious Pademba Road prison.
- Green tiger is a former president of Sierra Leone.
- Paulo Mwanga, Blacky, were college nicknames of a journalist friend.