The Sierra Leone Web

  Maada Joe-sai Squire, at the time this poem was submitted, was a Sierra Leonean student at the Department of Literary Studies, School of Graduate Studies, University of Botswana.  


Darkness in Heaven

"The poem (below) is my recollection on the events following the rebel invasion of Freetown on 6th January 1999." -MJS

I walked through each lonely street,
In the pool of stanched blood
Was that the peace brought by the rebels
On a sumptuous and fruitful land?

Our mothers and sisters reduced to despair—
Raped of their innocence against their will,
As rapists, bandits and blood-thirsty hooligans
Paved their path into that peaceful land.

The air became unpleasant
With sounds of weakness and pain.
We were hostages in our own land,
Filled with thorns and a bleak future

It was but all a dreadful moment.
As vultures made their day
On littered and redolent corpses,
Our hearts and souls bled.

Oh! Torn and tattered motherland
For your consolation, hold thy peace.
‘Tis thy sons' and daughters' desire:
We plead to thee, sweet mother,
Let your favor rest.



"In my country Sierra Leone, we only have rains and dry as seasons. In Botswana it is winter and summer.  But the summer I experienced was like the rains in my country. This strange occurrence spurred this poem." -MJS

We have been waiting.
Now you are here,
to keep us alive,
from the harsh breeze of winter.The birds have resumed.
Activities booming.
Every chap plays with anxiety.
Indeed summer is back.But our thoughts keep waving.
Why the rains?
To keep us from classes.
Away from our activities.

We no longer understand you.
Are you summer?
May we say summer rains?
Please! Please! Tell us.



"For quite too long {to be precise 10 years} my country Sierra Leone has been bleeding from a bloody civil conflict. It has been due to the lack of Patriotism. My meditation on the crisis in that country gave birth to this poem as a solution."  -MJS

To love and be loyal to one’s country;
To win the admiration
Of fellow country men,
And the affection of one’s people.To learn to appreciate
Constructive criticism.
And strongly resist
Temptations that may misguide you.To accept what ever is due you,
and find virtue in others.
Make an impact on your country
Change it for the better.You may do so in varieties
Whether by being a loyal soldier,
A selfless politician
Or an improvement in social standards.To know your purpose on earth,
Patriotism is the only way by which,
Thy good works shall be remembered.
Patriotism! Patriotism! Patriotism!


A Maiden's Advice

"As women around the globe celebrate international women's day on this 8th day of March 2003, I dedicate this poem to all female youths of the University of Sierra Leone." - MJS

Beware, oh you maiden
You are the nation's pride
Wolves on the rampage gleefully rejoice
in their feelings that you are cheapListen not to their words
for they are lined with glistering gold
Nor at their false promises
which are slippery eelsChoose them out of good sense
Search their persons from facts exposed
Read not on faces the minds contents
for deception lies withinBeware oh you daughter of our realm
Examine every work not their words
Search each carcass that lay
for marks of long and sharp teeth

When they are found, be sincere
Cancel floating air dreams
Fly like kites in truth
while love in time grows


The Lonely College

"The poem is set to unfold the state in which I found my former college, Njala University College in Sierra Leone, after the rebels had vandalised it. A visit I paid inspired me to compose these lines." -MJS

How lonely sits the college
that was full of people.
How like a widow has she become
great among equals she was.

She that was a princess is now a vassal.
Bitterly she weeps with tears on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers she has non-to comfort her.
They have all become her enemies.

A withered face she bears.
Her ears can no longer hear.
Paleness has swallowed her eyes
as weakness sweeps her thighs.

O sweet fountain of our make-up
be not lonely and dejected,
for days of joy ahead I see
when pain and tears will all be sealed.


May 25

"This poem is a reflection on the activities that surrounded the first military coup after the restoration of democracy in 1996 in Sierra Leone." -MJS

So bright and beautiful such a day,
with its cool and gentle breeze.
Every street glittered with colours.
One could tell it was a Sunday morning.

Happiness shone in every face,
for God’s worship was a delight.
Soon, soon, all was quiet.
Sounds of guns filled the air.

Every soul found its abode.
The colours became blurred.
Combat boys paraded about.
It was yet the first military coup.

Life itself became still.
Voices of soldiers pierced our ears,
as officials took to hills,
to usher in anarchy.

We were all athletes,
Racing to protect lives,
In the hands of ruthless thugs.
A bad memory it was.

It keeps ringing in ears.
Hard to phase away.
For its horror and pain,
we pray it comes no more.



"The civil war in my country forced me to complete a four-year degree programme in six years." - MJS

In place of four years
Six years have past
With horrible experiences
Nothing but horrorIn my own land I lived
Away from my family
Sacrifices I made
For bright and shiny daysToday,  I have it: my dreams
But the greatest I see ahead
Though the road be long
I know I’ll get thereMen have crossed the ocean
Some with ships
Others used canoes
Few had to swimIt is a thorny path; I know
With smiles at the end
Though oceans be wide
I know I’ll sail across.


At Forty-Two

The years have rolled so fast
Now I am forty-two in the pool of independence
 But what can I show my colleagues?
Though painful, surely, I will voice it I am among the richest parents
My children are among the poorest
with hunger, greed and poverty stamped on their faces
Now! they have all deserted me

In far away lands they live
Some are good doctors but my patients die each second
Some are good teachers, but my schools are weak
Some wash plates, pots and cars in lands afar
But my fields are bare.
If I must start all over again, I would choose dependence