The Sierra Leone Web

  Stephen Yaya Mansaray was born in Sucta village on the Lungi Peninsula. He did most of his schooling in Lungi, but attended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School in Freetown, St. Augustine Secondary School in Lungi, and St. Francis Secondary School in Makeni. He began writing poetry in 1990.  


A Little Prayer

Bad things happen to people
A little groove like a dimple
Even if it catches you off guard
Let the Lord be your shepherd

Smiles are desirable but can’t always be there
So too are those you call ‘dear’
Always have God to fall back on
When all seem gone

Say a little prayer
That when your need be dire
There will be an arm open wide
That leaves many wondering why
Even though you ache
You would not break


Alternative Thinking

Conduit sole
Made you whole
An alternative way, some say
Causes many to sway

Power shared
Is not might sheared
What you have
Is not what you hold
But what is doled
Is what is saved

Take the bait
Lose a date
Find that spark of divinity
And save humanity


This Game

What is this game
That does not have a name
This endless maze
That seems to dull my gaze

What is this mess
That seems to have no end
Makes me feel useless
I can no longer pretend

When I think the peak is here
I should know that the beginning is near
These endless circles
That binds me in shackles
Guess we are trapped in this mad craze
Till the end of our days



She had a story to tell
About an adventure to hell
In a moment, courageous
The next, pitifully frail
Someone’s outrageous
Must have gone off rails

It was a nightmare
He certainly unaware
What boils to instant sensation
Is utter devastation

Dad wants fairness
He could care less
If it is done in an instant
Pushing the law in a distant


Her Story

She told her story
As though it happened to others
of adventures and glory
And how babies were made mothers.

It was a life in the jungle
A life-death dangle
living just for the day, no tomorrow
A life of take, no borrow

Wasted lives
Lived against one’s will
It is part of the deal
That we say daily byes
Because you never can tell
The next day can be hell


A Day at a Time

One day at a time
Lots have changed with a dime
Even oaths are made in a day
With all sincerity, they say

How comes things meant for ages
Only end in a moment
To terminate a torment
In fulfillment of adages

You do lots
Forgetting to care for the dots
It’s always like that
When you get complacent
You almost look like dirt
If you cannot be decent



I like your smile
And I love your size
With such eyes
I could walk the aisle

There is perfection in your looks
I could never get off the hooks
If I dare make a start
In these matters of the heart

With your masquerade
I could do the raid
If you would be my lady

I could be your baby
But there is more to life
Than to be a wife


Other Beginnings

It began as a Holy cause
One that will open doors
With no end in sight
Relying on God’s might

The needs seemed few
In the morning dew
A scheme not to delay
But help you on your way

We see a thing in a different light
From a varying height
The initial zeal evaporate
The spiritedness dissipate
With the quieting din
Signaling another beginning


The Dame

It is a game
With the dame
Play well or you’ll be damned
Unless with some weapons you’ll be armed

You start at a level
Not knowing you deal with the devil
The rules change by the minute
When the poles change, you better follow suit
Shape up or ship out
Without a speck of doubt

If the devil demands to many and each
It will be odd
If less be the requirement of God
Then to the ditch goes the bitch



Fabricated reality
In a world of duality
Helping people cope
Even those that broaden their scope

Such is knowledge
It comes in trickles
A moment’s privilege
Not to cause prickles

Patience wins
The truth heals
Almost like a dink
Does not make reality false
Slicing, it does



No stopping in this dart
It could just be a start
But it can just be the end
To some object our hearts tend

We heard voices on line
Of an invitation to dine
A place is set for the rendezvous
Hoping it is not déjà vu!

But how were we to know
Even though we couldn’t say no
That the end to which we tend
Could leave a hole to mend
Once the basis no longer hold
Only the story can be told



Combing her frame with his eyes
His whole being filled with desire
Rummaging the terrain his heart lies
Hoping he could have her for hire

With a girl-like air
Exhibiting no sign of care
She, carrying on her chores with pleasure
He, a way of spending his leisure
She, wanting a man that will stay
He, craving, yearning and seeking for the day

She too has he needs
More than you can see from her deeds
She just cannot pay heed to fleeting passions
When there are enduring mansions



A branch of mathematics
How you can be misused
Wish you were disused

One out of ten
What happens to the rest?
When you take out the best
And throw the left over into the den

When you don’t know you are a guinea-pig
You can only hope you can wear the wig
A pig with a wig exists for few
With extra wings to catch the dew
Your only option is to hope
When you don’t have available the dope



Left you stranded at the altar
Nothing seemed to alter
He promised you heaven
You thought you had a haven

Now I have found strength
After what I considered a dent
What I did was an accessory
Not a necessary

What I offered was my all
I did not expect a fall
It sometimes happen
That souls get dampen
If you spit fire
You are in a mire



Victor is his name
Always takes her face as his aim
Makes it blue and black
Could be better if it were her back

Love! What a strange emotion
Its synonym for some is crazy devotion
Either she doesn’t know what to do
Or she thinks it is a way to woo

Sad for you Victor
That you do not see the picture
Poor girl! Wonder what she thinks
Or is it that he drinks
Think Victor, you should focus on self-mastery
Instead of friend battery


The Gold

He who endures wins the gold
Puts up with the pressure
Gives up the leisure
Let go of lots others hold

The race is not for the swift
Neither for those that drift
Nor for the stress prone
But those that lived for the moment
Calling it their own
All their energies spent

People die for things of less honour
Life itself preempts a donor
Even if I should die on the finish line
The gold is still mine



Oh History!
You shroud yourself in mystery
You put us all on hold
As you slowly unfold

Oh History!
What is your story
That you keep from us
Yet not from our discourse

What is your lesson
That will make our pain lessen
Patiently wait
With unshaken faith
As you gradually expose
What you had to disclose



I feel very much betrayed
Because I considered myself your personal aide
Please don’t draw too many people in your web
Now that your relationships are at a low ebb

If you’ve got too many things to hide
It’s an indication that you need some aid
People are not necessarily fools
Because they let you loose

A lair always gets caught
For he is a nut
To think that he is smart
In his self-trained art
People deserve what they’ve got
You merit what you ought


We Come

We come to you,
From family and friends,
From strong long bonds,
From warmth and comfort.

We come to you,
Though we know not what you offer
With wide open hands,
We await what you've got.

We come to you,
Wholeheartedly without reservation,
For in you is knowledge found,
Anticipated knowledge and more.

We come to you,
Guinea pigs, baits, robots,
That's what we are,
For your gratification and glory.

We come to you,
Humiliation, intimidation, exploitation, hunger,
And more we suffer,
No better exchange for regrets.

For where there are regrets,
Knowledge has been gained,
Would have been better we had not come,
Better still we came.


Why Did You Do This?

My brother, why did you do this to me?
What brought this scheming to your mind?
Who directed your plans?
Do you realise how much you've hurt me

Where are all my labours?
All my strives, where are they?
Did you close your eyes so that you will not see?
Shut your ears so that you will not hear?
Or did you hear and never listened,
Or saw and never perceived?

You saw all my works,
And never realised how much I tried to accomplish
You heard me sing in happiness,
But never did it move you,
Because you are a stone not a man,
A mountain, not flesh and blood.

Why did you do this to me, my brother?
To throw me out of the scene
Like an abandoned car,
To send me out of my dwelling,
Like a banished criminal,
To treat me with contempt,
Like a condemned prisoner!
Treat me the way one does rubbish,
Like Jesus thrown out of Jerusalem gates!

Look how far you've been from me!
Look how far our thoughts go from each other!
It has not been long, yet we're far from each other
Only few hours, yet there exists a gap,
A gap difficult to bridge.

Why did you do this to me, my brother?
Do you not have your faults like everyone else?
Why do you condemn me because of my faults?
Have you been the perfect one,
Condemning me while you yourself are condemnable?

Haven't you realised how much
I am out of mood?
Out of your love and hence God's love?
Because you made me feel jealous,
Because you made me see your deceit.

I have my faults like everybody else
Some you do notice,
Other you do notice but do not pay heed to,
But this you notice and let me quit!

Why did you do this to me, my brother?
Why did you ever have a thought like this?
Your scheming has been revealed,
And the knowledge concealed.

This will leave a scar on my face,
My heart, my mind,
My whole self,
Why did you do this to me?



It is not a mistake
Just because it is causing someone an ache
When you have got a decision to take
Someone has got a mind to make.

Your proof of freedom
The show of subjection to your thraldom
Should remind you that what is freely given
Can be freely taken.

Choice depicts alternatives
They are all derivatives
You looked for prospect
I sought respect.

If you insist
I cannot resist
If you change
I cannot but match the challenge.

It is not giving up
It is facing up
It is not resignation
It is avoiding stagnation

It is not lack of gratitude
It is fostering the right attitude
It is not letting go of allegiance
It is embracing what is left of the alliance

It is giving up in order to face up
Resigning in order to take up
No contradiction in diction
Only a contravention of convention


It is Over

It is over,
The joyful pains of birth,
Like a ship at berth
The end of a long journey.

It is over,
The unexpected revelation,
Of hopes towards the sky,
That falls below the sea.

It is over,
The energy-consuming task of preparation,
To face the altar,
Of commitments weighed against heart's desire.

It is over,
The flamboyant honeymoon,
Spent in comfort and luxury,
A once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

It is over,
The unending payables,
Of toil for the brow,
Of show meant for the eyes.

It is over,
The wild passing hurricane,
The dancing trees with their song,
To test the strong and fell the weak.

It is over,
The excitement of the new,
Of knowledge of the unknown,
The new that will be old.

It is over,
The hovering whirlwind,
Of dust that belongs elsewhere,
'Down ', calls gravity.

It is over,
The last breathe,
The last rites,
The earth swallows its own.


Closed Doors

Behind closed doors
Bombarded by 'odours'
Things happening within
Separated by walls paper-thin
Oblivious of happenings in the world outside
A world without a clue of happenings inside

Yet with the odours' heat
I will, with it, hit
'Cause from it, all originates
Fair enough if to it, all designates
In me I have you,
So dear world, you can have me too
For that is the order -
That we belong to each other.


Eight Forty-six, Nine-eleven

One-minute silence
One seemingly a trance
A year's remembrance
Of sin too heavy on our conscience.
Reminiscences of a great crumble
Of two grand towers
That left lots in the rubble
And pain that was to last hours.

Trapped occupants were not your only victims
Though you did not bother
About the fire fighting teams
I think you crossed the border
Giving the world a wake-up call
A food-for-thought for all.


Face the World

Face the world
With all its ills
Let go of your hold
Come down from your hills

Many have attained
With little aid
You too can just try
With a trusting eye
For there in One greater
A plan better

So even if you do not seem to gain
What you set out to attain
You are still a hero
In the eyes of those who know



Waiting, aching, longing
With body, mind and soul
For the sound of a ringing
The feel of your sole

Longing to hear your voice
Waiting to be reminded of your poise
You know what I mean
Please don't be mean

I wonder where you are
And if you are aware
That someone out here
Longs to touch your hair

The hour is past
And several more elapsed
Please give me a call
And reclaim my all