The Sierra Leone Web

  Roland Bankole Marke is a Sierra Leonean, living in Jacksonville, Florida. He has published two collections of poetry: Teardrops Keep Falling and Silver Rain and Blizzard. His most recent book - Harvest of Hate: Stories and Essays, was published in 2006. Marke's work has appeared in several journals and magazines including World press,, Florida Times Union and Pambazuka Press. His poems will be anthologized with famous American poets. Visit his website:  


Heroine in My Life

How quickly time races on
Mama’s love still the same
She endured anxious times
Unaware loving tears flow.

Her priceless sacrifice of love
Tender love as warm comfort
Mama, I’m so proud of you
Enjoy long life in good health
Enjoy each shower of blessings.

Peace as happiness be yours
You’re the heroine in my life
God bless you dearest mama
I cherish my African heritage
Everyday is “Mother’s Day.”


Sierra Leoneans Unite

My beloved, resilient people, when would we unite?
Ideal time to show our wisdom, patriotism with love
With right frame of mind, tapping needed resources
Sierra Leoneans, rise up to flourish like an evergreen
My hand of friendship, I extend to every compatriot
Melodiously, our ancestors deserve cherished honor
For too long, discordant rhythm blindly divided us
Cancer of ethnic division eroded our peace and unity
Despite our ethnic ties, we're always Sierra Leoneans
Sierra Leoneans, wisely unite for a peaceful harmony
I pronounce death warrant to budding ethnic divide
Time for unification, equality with justice for us all
Unity's cemented mighty-fortress as wall of Jericho
Unite and love each other, for a peaceful homeland
Independence anniversary will have new meaning.


Bunce Island

Amid the rumbling Sierra Leonean waters,
Enveloped into the deep of Atlantic Ocean,
Stood this dark and mighty fortress, called
Bunce Island: that caricatures the-Bastille, 
Dark-dungeon to stockpile African slaves:
History sleeps here like the one-eyed man.
Around 1700s -1800s, our ancestors were
Chained, forced to a ‘Point of no Return,'
At a warehouse of humanity, and waiting
Shipment onto Charleston, Savannah in
The South or New York in United States;
Gullahs from beloved home worked rice
Farms in South Carolina: the grim trade's
Intertwined with blemished history of UK,
United States and motherland Sierra Leone:
Neither time nor distance, would triumph:
To eradicate this gloomy enduring legacy.


Music in democracy's soothing as it is healing,
And it involuntarily moves my mouth to salivate.
Harmonious chorus jumpstarts awe, inspiration:
Christiana, the lead musician, serves the need.
She goads guilded soloists to save the harmony,
And to herald unification's fountain of equality:
Songs of Mendes, Creoles, Themnes, Limbas --
A melange of melodies that might save the world.
Late Siaka Stevens said: other people see us as
Sierra Leoneans, not chucks of tribal divisions.
Strangers, often say, I like your romantic accent.
Many think Africa's just a country, no continent.
I dance to democracy's stride, in Sierra Leone.
A chord of music that melts as it merges hearts.
Birth pains: symptoms of an emerging democracy.
To replay our dire history, only invites the emetic.
The People's power's a semblance of superstructure.
With a renewed passion, I too dream my own songs:
A prescription sealed above for enduring peace; and
Flavor, of a legacy carefully tailored to shine forever.


Violence in Silence

Tenacity, as passion, sanctifies the chorus to empathy,
chanting a mystic African chorus bids horror goodbye.
Resilient females explode their hearts kissing the ground.
They are little girls, teenagers, grown, ailing, old women:
they appear helpless, powerless, against their assailants. 
Yet, despite their status, they are seized, openly raped,
again and again; hate exploited a sacrilege of innocence:
and still they sing of their agony, seeking self-esteem to
steady their souls, the harmony bites to unmask misery
in suffering. Cowards as trains only derail womanhood.
Their rooted spirit's daring, as steadfast as lighted eyes,
and hearts sing their tears away. Song blooms comfort, 
as each soul seeks redemption. An older woman said, 
"Ruthless men have assaulted our bodies, not our spirit,
we're fearless, vocal, stigmatized outcasts our society
detest us. Prayer for justice unveils violence in silence."


Enough is Enough

Handicapped by engraved cruel segregation
A germ of servitude that antibiotics can't cure
Cancerous monster acculturated into society
A shackled dehumanization of ailing hearts
Folks, cruise on a path to peaceful equality
Economic emancipation mutely mortgaged
Hurricane Katrina still crawls memory lane
Rosa Park's tenacity "Enough is Enough"
Strong defiant patriot confidently sat down
While men feared lynching to support her
I applauded as my destiny turned around
Rosa's accolade decorates the wall of fame
Freedom and fused justice breath panacea
To drive America while humanity evolved.


Africana Drum Beat

Entertainment soars feverish in arena
Barefooted, swift and trembling feet
Dancers in ceremonial attire parade
Rainbow colors, breathe-borne revue
Perfumed aroma our sensuous spirit
Arousal exalts crowd is more tense
Deep breath the immortal soul sings
In frenzy ecstasy, parade advances
Tremulous crescendo, explosive tune
Jive spirited notes and drumbeat freak
Soul and spirit gyration to amalgamate
Dancers shrill as vibrant music swings
Like a terrorist a traitor enters the arena
Villagers moan sudden frenzied mood
Shaking mystic wand evil made history
Shift in drumbeat impedes heinous trail
Mind body and soul fused sonorous tune.


Call Me a Dreamer

Just replica of Joseph, that constant believer.
His brothers ridiculed him as a mere dreamer.
To achieve impossible, believe the incredible.
Dreamers dream, but few ever stay focused.
Dream is a glimpse, creative powerful force.
Skillful architect of your destiny, dream on.
Dream the impossible, repel fear that stalls.
Magnetize, every positive force toward you.
Why just trivialized, by fictitious negatives?
Your dreams are as gigantic, as your mind.
What a mind perceives, the heart achieves.
Dreams are vivid, dream with a conviction.
Uphold the passion, your incredible dream.
Like Martin Luther King, you change lives.
Collectively, make the world a better place.
Be creative, believe yourself, your dreams.
Still call me a dreamer, I believe in dreams.
Spectators and pessimists remain stagnant.
Dream of images, pictures of your passion.
Call me a dreamer, I believe with passion.
What good is a life, without a clear vision.


The Gift of Life

Every life, is a unique, Divine gift.
Singular, precious gift to humanity.
Pioneers, can't create organic life.
Divine spirit, once ruled the world.
We're Divine, crafted rare model.

Life too precious, human loving gift.
Why destroy a life, you can't create.
Try a loving heart, erode lust to hate.
Humanity, wonderful, craftily carved.
Love creates; why destroy a creature?

No wisdom, desperate to sink a ship.
Sadly, no joy, striving to take any life.
Impeding love's plan, is a mere ordeal.
Retribution, surely comes from above.
Let's all celebrate the gift of life anew.



Loud squeaks, bizarre nightmare, heralds a vampire.
Weird resonance, deprives me of sweet night slumber.
Odd, serrated wings, dog-wolf face, yet mongrel breed.
Like the owl, its mere appearance, connotes axis of evil.
Such compelling outburst of anger, insanely arrests me.
I detest, even the mere sight of weird, intruding monster.
Destructive! abusive, magic passion, that mutilate fruits.
Who wants a big bite, of that messy adulterated exploit?
Propelling, discordant resonance, mere nature's artistry.
Irritating sight, ruins a ravenous appetite, for juicy fruits.
Tropical, succulent delicacies, profuse, mouth watering.
Spectate, rapist's abuse of precious, romantic, deciduous.
Shocked! brutal, innocent fruits, are hopeless spectators.
Battered, mutilated delicacies, littered like snow flakes.
Poor kids, are disappointed, at brutal remnant "bat-mot"
Visualize, mean vampire, such ravenous passion to feast.
Dawn's a conspiracy; intruder's greed warrants ambush.
Never envy, such dumb-blind vampire, with deadly greed.
Nature, probably dispenses an equitable, retributive justice.
Chilling dawn, vampire's presence militates pandemonium.
Pity, greedy monster, struggling for life's avenue of escape.
Doomed flight, congruent to September 11 suicide mission.
Suddenly, blind mongrel, is polarized, by high voltage trap.
Sadly, expanded wings, struggled to divert a doomed flight.
Hopeless effort, powerful vampire is glued to inviting doom.
Inborn vendetta, sound conscience, now ferociously at war.
Pity, hopeless thing, strives for survival; life and death at war.
Hate and greed, as hand in glove, symmetrical deadly emotions.
But the eagle, sparrow or pigeon, face a random lottery of fate.



Shrilling bellow, trumpeting towncrier,
Anchored, betwixt shady, baobab tree.
Africa's rooted, and symbolic ancestry,
Elders relax, on hand-crafted hammock.
Sanctified, prodigious, bloodline lineage,
Culture of umbilical, one perennial bond.
First born male, blueprint immortalized,
Sacred tradition, generations respected,
Somber outrage, why trash my tradition?
Bloodline cord, links the living or dead.


Sacred bond, others scorn our tradition,
Bonded souls and spirits, wise ancestry.
Uncle Fred, buried the sealed container,
Taboo, kids can't view precious chord.
Pouring libation, resonates our blessings.
Uncompromising ritual, revered ancestry,
Mother, once connected by life-line fetus,
Symbolic bond, connects soul and spirit.
Bloodline, epitomized by life-borne cord,
Euphoria, mysticism, one mind and spirit.
A germane DNA, equates ancestral bond.


My Sacred Ballot

My right to vote symbolizes the Sacred-Cow.
As my whispering intuition blooms wisdom
I abhor carved tribalism slipped into package

Seem sheepish to graze on our bare emotion
Sound reasoning goads the plausible choice.

My ballot's like a mighty American Express:
Unique, priceless, commands ideal strength
And authority to hire a dictator for a patriot:
Smooth cheer-leader eulogizes sacred right;
Folly's a lonely nuisance roaming aimlessly.

Like birth certificate this might's inalienable
Spineless infidel applauds the sneaky despot:
Shaming true, caring patriot: to tow the line,
Or denied franchise sucks up all my oxygen.
Destiny's map-quest germinates redemption.


Ancestral Palm Tree

Ancestral palm tree was a vital trademark of health:
Multi-produce Africa's hope, desired monetary bliss,
Nurturing and blooming this organic as timeless age:
Wine taper harvests palm wine or the succulent fruit,
Palm leaves produce brooms, while nuts provide oil.
Biblical metaphor - palm branch's insignia of peace:
Fruit's chaff feed animals and equally used as a fuel,
Multi-purpose palm tree was an enviable providence.

Ingenious mettle: poly-tricks would herald disrepute?
Oh blatantly the ignoble farmer's heart grew tainted!
Let conscience speak as this secret tale would exhale,
Like smoke that thrust upward with a solemn prayer.
Palm oil elevates blood pressure, the doctor's advice.
With emotion devoured palm oil cuisine voraciously.

I'm apprehensive of my palm tree's latent worthiness.
Is it the tiller or nature that has crafted this mutation?
More questions than answers flood poet's cerebrum
But, would this aging, dreaded palm tree regenerate?



Her clarion call that shredded my bleeding heart
An unwelcome news of mama's shocking blow
Patience had endured Lucifer's grueling wrestle
But she could be craving the fruits of endless toil
Humanity embrace the charming generous kind
A singing heart amid her accomplished domain
Hades' sting has ruined our unfathomable bond
And father Abraham's bosom clings watertight
In celestial garden the nectar of love grows wild
And faith like oyster clings to its protective shell
Invincible and infallible architect shepherds best
Predestined solace the hallmark of timeless rest
Enduring bliss permeates from a celestial breast
While chanting Hallelujah faith claims quiet nest.


Africa My Dear Africa

Africa My Africa, rise from deep slumber
Liberia, Rwanda, Chad and ailing Sudan
Our people chant a litany of lamentations
Babies, children and women in dire trait
Beloved home dreaded eye-sore pain
Ancestors are wailing sunrise to sunset.

Strong bond, rooted love now waning
Hope Africa visualizes through a prism
War or partition, Africa's chronic doom
A vicious malaise trumpets extinction
Germinate unity, justice with freedom

I detest long carnage or mental slavery
Africans in Diaspora can illuminate path
Aged Warfare deserves a death warrant
Resilience and integrity love germinates
Anchored unity lasting peace in justice
Africa's destiny echoes within my soul.


Nelson Mandela

Legendary icon, injustice personified
Epitomizes Africa's indicted ancestry
Apartheid's homegrown dehumanization
Branded criminal, whim, baseless crime
Essence of freedom liberation or death
Did carry cross, lifetime crown he wears
Robust inspiration celebrated unification
Africa wears the face of Nelson Mandela
Empowerment immortal and unshakable
Wedged a clear dent on wall of freedom
Symbol of heroism an electric inspiration
Like eloquent poetry he's a living peace
A silence made detractors nothingness
Institutionalized as a malignant cancer
Xenophobia and exploitation married
Beacon of freedom knew no violence
Equality dignity eventually resurrected
World to emulate passionate Mandela.


Lasting Peace

World needs dire peace and harmony.
Where can we embrace lasting peace?
Will the cosmos attain global peace?
Let's claim God's ever lasting peace.
Lord send us your ever lasting peace.

Peace so Divine, that comes from God.
A unique fusion, of the mind and body.
Peace, rare catalyst so vital for survival.
Desolation triggers, hatred, strife, chaos.
Only God, can salvage our chaotic world.

Revolt against God, eroded global peace.
Vainly, we try to claim equality with God.
We nursed conceit, greed, utter rebellion.
The end, we lost God's ever lasting gift.
Can't survive, without God's guidance.

Souls, return to God, reclaim His peace.
God is loving, tender, caring shepherd.
Accepts back, souls that once strayed.
Lasting peace, is a true bond with God.
Lasting peace, is just what we all need.


Blood Diamonds

So fascinated, glowing glitter and illumination.
Precious jewel, token of love, band of stability.
Captivating, mere false image, a social security.
Nuptial token, love, joy, friendship, happiness.
Woman's best friend, glitter captures her heart.
But there's the sad, brutal story behind the gem.
Sierra Leone and Congo sad victims of horror.
Sale of blood diamonds, support rebel forces.
Funds, finance Africa's evil wars; terror reigns.
Cruelty and violence, perpetuated in mine fields.
Babies hands amputated, many innocent suffer.
Blood diamonds, tell such graphic scary story.
Daily, many marriages, seem failing in the west.
Divorce rate soaring, to an epidemic proportion.
Blood of the innocent, now crying for retribution.
Collectively, we can halt this violence and horror.
Today, children hardly attain their 18th birthday.
Blood diamond malaise, ruined millions of lives.
Arrest this greedy business, and horrendous evil.


Genius's Hand

My hand is not, mere bread and butter tool.
Nor my pen, to satisfy a mere selfish whim.
Divine justice, our cosmos saturated with ills.
Hand agitated, quenches thirsty, faltering soul.
Numerous souls, ailing, hungry even straying.
Abundant food, still many souls are hungry.
My hand is fountain of necessary soul food.
Tons of pens write, still few worthy hands.
Revere worthy hand, internalize virtuous wit.
Hand so Divine, healing, inspiring, uplifting.
Is life at its ebb, my hand is satisfying food.
Unlike horror, my voice speaks to every soul.
Peace's like rain, nurtures, keeps plants alive.
War is deadly wind, that dries healthy plants.
Violence breeds more hate, love heals a soul.
Supernatural hand, not sold at designer stores.
Only celestial power, impedes a worthy hand.
Just compassionate, rare, witty writ, like mine.