The Sierra Leone Web

  Mercy Peters lives in the Republic of Ireland, where she works as a journalist and a poet.  


Walk Tall

On days when wariness
In attendance as the sleuth
Wherein tiresome call
As attributable to Duty only
Warrants mortal attention

On days when despondency
Shrouds heavily for supererogation
By whose loathsome self chores are meet
To attain a semblance of normalcy
Superintend thine hands

Bewail the task
Supplicate for release
As supernumerary
Tango in wait
Then furtive steps take

When called for account
For measure-
And when the deed's done
Walk tall



There was the semblance of a cease-fire
Persons & belongings were on the march
Frames of all sorts carried & were being carried
The sight was one for mortal rejection

Shelled-out carcasses, once home, habitable, now in abeyance
Glare at the stream of passers
by Down at the worldly & their possessions
All in the march, to freedom

Household items make interesting alarming sounds
Musical & jingly
To the footsteps of the carriers
A stark contrast to the ruins-all still & menacing

Groups of fours & fives marched on
Men, women, young & elderly
Chickens, goats & sheep trod along
Some keeping to owners while others sprinted ahead

Transistor radios were the one object curios
The British Broadcasting Corporation had still a loyal audience
Ariels of barbed wire precariously pitched
Dodging them became a dance

Stop after stop, the march, in unison trod on
Membership increasing all the while
Carriers that the marchers had become, abstemious, would negotiate load
And the Stops were becoming

Deliberations were quick & time was dear
TVs, chest of drawers & other furniture would leave a trail
To be followed by other marchers, leading to safety
To shelters of rest & refreshment

Men were dear & those on the march kept up appearances
Women in the lead groups, in haste of departure
Youths mouthing off-on this & on that-of the ghastly trek
In all, the mix was arrestingly proper

Disorderliness, as witnessed in the homestead
Would mean dis-membership of limb & load
As this was not to be attracted to oneself
The march, in unison, trod on

Shelled out buildings were slowly left behind
Red-carpeted roadways now appearing
As the tarmac-lay began to fade
Fine layers of coated dust began to settle

Cow-skinned sandals, once regarded as for the poor
Now provide top-speed footwear for al
l Clay-clad they soon were
Plodding on bumping off portholes

There were roadblocks every now & then
But none manned them as far as the eye could see
They were piles of human remains
The first dead, first casualties

Sightings were loudly acknowledged
Of this & that Displacement Camp
They saw but could not join camp
Wariness was all too clear

Places full, Camp Adjutants said
Move on to the next camp
This was a good few miles away
But not one marcher grumbled

Perhaps there was reasoning
That delay would mean not securing at next camp
Perhaps there was fear
That this one was too close to home

Christians, Moslems & Heathen alike genuflected in prayers
Divinations were made
Leaders had emerged at the onset
Now pointing the way-short cuts

They led prayers
Clammy hands supplicated
Weary heads bobbed
Quaky knees bent

Recording of the trudgers had begun
Numbers that set out must on average, make destination
So weights had to be discarded
Carry only necessities leaders exhorted

The March obeyed to this
Clothes were worn on the person
Three, four at the one time
Better not reach & be naked

Chickens & herd were slaughtered
Roasted over charcoal fires
Sealed in plastic containers
For food on the road

Water jugs were refilled
Of earthenware make
Water welcomingly splashed
On scorched heads & backs

On the road again
Expectant & hopeful
Heads still held high
Legs ready for the trek

My report, as Correspondent
Is on the living only
The dead lie still
And none can speak for them



Life is a becoming journey
We prepare for it with open minds
Some will tread her solo
Others will couple along

Anticipate it!
One sure thing about the journey
It shall be ripe, come adventure!

What bring you for ease?
Beauty? Fame? Knowledge?
O empty yourself
For there's much to garner!

We shall discover & barter
You & I

The journey-
It will take us
Make us


What, Make You, of Me?

You know me
You have knowledge of me
You know me?

I am gargantuan
Of a magnitude
To a degree, unfathomable

You see me
You have sight of me
You see me?

Perchance, an Introduction?

I am at thy doorstep
On the peripheral
Dotting the horizon

Perchance, an Insight?

Boisterous, charming, delicate
An erstwhile lucent flow
Beaten-tough, voluminous
Stoic as in breath

Perchance, an Input?

The questions are all mine for now
To pose you, my host. Libertine hand,
Allow me this scourge of spirit



Of course, the unexplained
Is simply the unexamined

What if I say
I cannot offend your sense of smell
With that which I smell of now?

Pondering this
You may ask
What is Smell for Ma'am
Or even
What is it that I smell of?

Venturing further
What if I toast

To the persons we love
At different times, in different ways
To the persons we become
At different times & in different ways?

Squinting at me, you may well respond
Better still
Take a hike!

Let me dare
To suggest another

To the lives we live
The ones we dream of
While living & loving
Each in his own way

Who's got a life these days
Who's got love

Whom you referring to

I could persist
On Time-
That from the beginning
It has been & so will be

Measuring, till we exit
Though upon examination
The paucity of bodies
To own the above
Lean on the peripheral

So what?

That there are few to warrant deliberation
Does not make pall
Thorough insight
Into Man's dailies

What, pray tell
Are you trying to say?

Well, I speak of morals
Attitudes, gestures, appraisals
And of Life's Pirouette




On me nails-toes & fingers
In me hair-pubic & otherwise

Picking they are

At me Self
Me very Self

Where they come from?

In pairs &

Hardened lot

Unashamedly presenting
Unkempt I now be

Eating at me verve

At first me thought no bother
Not knowing yarrow-like them go be


Off boats
Off Trucks & Planes

Who go rid me off them?

The Dept. of Health or
The Dept. of Justice?

Who allow them here?

Festering pests
Gnawing at me feed

I get to think fast

Me own keeper now I need be
Government me foot!

Why this be problem now?

Me vista saying something
Whispering though

Why you no talk loud?

Me need to hear well
For me to take action

What the people say?

Tardy business
Them Bugs

Why people say so?

Them too be confounded
By Bugs & Government



I got the blues

Soul sistah got rejected
Yester-noon at the bank
Scrooge strained his neck
Looked at me ID & heck
Said, him can't make me out

I got the blues

'Coz 'tis not me fault
Refugee here got this Blue Book
A hardback for breaking nuts
Scrooge no doubt had me dubbed
No man's Gal this one be

I got the blues

Saw meself on TV
Outstretched arms all mine
A-begging for life I'm a dare
Tsetse fuzzed me all over
Not a chance I never

I got the blues

Granny me apologies
Warnings I did not heed
Granny me apologies
Fickle me ne'er listened
Is it too late for this Negress?

I got the blues

That a cow wished to be transported
To the White man's land
And this cow was delighted
Granny rung out warnings
But the bells chimed not loud enough

I got the blues

The cow is in the White man's land
And what has she become?
Slices of the whole
Feeding varying palates

I got the blues

Pentecostals awash
! That Jesus went to Africa
A timid diplomat
On His return
He is most vociferous

I got the blues


Double Minority

It's about being a Woman
About being Black
And living in another-coloured world

Being a Woman
Created from Man?
Of Him, for Him?

Being Black
That colour so stately
Yet, over-worn?

They say so
Our lives say so
Black soul, Sistah-mine


For the Love of Mike!

Hey-you-listen, Come here!

What's up?

You talking to me?

What's the story?

I know only ones told by moonlight!

What's the crack?

Mammy's apron strings, that's what!

Fish-drunk my lass?

Listen here!
A-going I am, emigrating

For the love of Mike, Come here!


Black Benefits

My hair-braids aloud! My hair-criss cross of corn rows! My hair-shoulder length wavy! My hair-tightly coifed in a chignon!

Is that you, Soul Sistah?
Is that you Gal?

What antics we employ
In the cause of a hairdo!

Succeeding guise
Newfound friends do double takes
Soul sistah enjoys quiet laughter

Some choose a Bleach!
Others, a Tan!
We go for hair-dos!

Black Day
Black Economy
Black Sheep
Black Benefits!


Dear Baby

Dear Baby
These whispered words-for your ears only

Heart throb
Love you loads
As Nature bears us be

You will be you
And me, I
Entwinement in masquerade

Baby mine
Journeying along this bumpy road
Awaiting thee-Change. That creepy craftsman!

What best describes our affair?
You bundle of hope
Unconditional in entirety?

As I tackle the road
So will you, each in our own way
As Nature bid us be

Time together shall continue as precious
Thru eventide accounts
Till Dawn bears us be

Dear Baby
These whispered words-for your ears only


Ganja Law

Thou fearless who trod this path
My education in law-land bid me hail thee!

Big bro
Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Ganja-willed songs for Change

Big bro
Bob Marley
Ganja-willed songs for Change

Why them two stand out?
Amidst the diverse notes of the one chord
The guttural splendour?

Them not only belt-out in their day
Them belt-out to us, for us, with us
Them Two orientation so unalike
How come them see same?

Them be tha
t Like Madiba
At cost of limb & life
The message for Change must press forth

Fela- Wrangler
Bob- Wailer

One tackled political hedonism
The other, well, the same?
Challenging Federal Democracy
Rejecting Awarded Independence

Them Two had good reason to
The Empire had set the pace
A galloping one, for Change
Them Two differ-with defined Change
Though worlds apart, decreed
Ganja-willed songs to re-define Change
Do I hearsay The Empire strike back?

Responding only to programming
Buffalo Soldier
Call to duty unending
Buffalo Soldier

Imitating the Chameleon
Buffalo Soldier
Applying the Chameleon

Wrangler blasted
Wailer lamented
Them both twitched
In despair

Zombie Law-
Do's & Don'ts
Buffalo Soldier's?
Zombie- against Nature's hype
In steel coloured guise
Universal rage on primary colours
Morn, Noon, Eventide
Marching in unison
Executing orders of others
Baby sitter, Nanny, Mother?

Buffalo Soldier on the horizon
In multi-coloured guise
Past caring 'bout steely rays
Imploring Nature
Daily chores
Equilibrium unattainable
Adapting & improvising
Self sitter, Nanny, Mother

Zombie Law
Ganja Law

Ganja Law is Nature's Law
That which Zombie cannot grasp
How can He, being not of Nature?
Ganja Law is Nature's Law
Embraced by Buffalo Soldier
And why not, being of essence & resort?

Forbidding Nature To forbid
Buffalo Soldier Zombie,

Stop Over & Out


X & I


For I know not myself
Yet like X, I exist

I am X
X is I

In search of the unknown

We are Constants?
X & I?

Then there is Jane Doe
Another Unknown
Along with X & I

She confounds too. Deciphering us
A Challenge for Man since yester-years
Troublesome lot



About Time Too

I must excel

Having won the uncertain shot at birth
I cannot but now excel

I must excel
Attainment to serve a purpose
And to that end my ability's best

To excel
A must for the Self
The awakened Self

To excel
And in so doing

That which breathed me be
Setting this Course on me
Resounding as the tone of breath



The Challenge

Dare I
Dare You
To dare
Suggest a Challenge

I am confident
In my stance
As I am
Gargantuan, Imposing

You are as you
Also confident
Your stance though
Appears dodgy

As Man
We have Challenge
Since yester-years
In all we encounter

Man to Man
We can still Challenge
Dominion ours
Wielding strength

We have fought battles
Will be fighting some more
Man to Man

I Speak for Self
Also for Brethren
I stand for Self
Yet not for Brethren

The Self, Arousing
Thus confidence
Mine in entirety
Urges on

Dare on Me
The Dare of the Devil
Man my Own