Literary Zone

An Ode to my Brother

22 August 2014 at 09:41 | 3777 views

To my friend and brother Dr. Modupeh J.H. Cole.

By Koyie Mansaray, a bosom friend and brother, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.

Ebola in faraway Congo has come to haunt
Breathing death and destruction in its wake
Mano River Basin ends up stigmatized, anon
Flight suspensions and umbrella ban by Kenya
Have consigned our citizens to undesirable pit
Death continues to toll its knell out and about
Sparing none as its cold hands have snatched
The most humane; those dedicating their span
To grant succor and relief stick out their necks
Health personnel as vanguards bear the brunt
Nurses tumbled and Dr.Sheikh Umarr Khan fell

In distant Kailahun the lethal epicenter, alas
Never imagined I that you in the city of the free
Could vulnerable be and follow the path of Sheikh
Your unequaled commitment blunted all fear
Fear of falling prey to the raging malady faraway
How startling one single contact could wreak havoc
Wresting and plucking you untimely at your prime
Modu, since initial acquaintance in the early ‘70s
You exuded stoicism, selflessness and generosity
Rougher were my days becoming and you acted
Stretching out a fraternal hand of a cosy welcome
Presenting this senior schoolmate to Pa and Mama
Pa Abiodun and Mama Nelly brought forth a son
Abnormally sired as the third but big brother Cole

My mind’s eyes still sees all the narrow ways
Ways we took strolling to the Laboramus school
From William Street to Newcastle Street then Thunder Hill
The Quarry and finally Expectantes to be marshaled
The reverse stroll was usually more relaxed but thronged
Fellows like Bilal Kargbo, Rahim, Jeremiah Bailey and others
Swelling the number at school precinct but dwindling along
Our strolling train before ending at 20 William Street had
Jokes cracked all along peppered by hearty peals of mirth

Destiny proposed a new path for me to serve the nation earlier
Even in my Kono District station you kept me abreast
Remaining an integral portion of the Cole progeny
Visits in the family abode punctuated joy for all
My old folks appreciated it all and would urge I stay
Our paths later went in the opposite directions
While you were at the P.O.W, I was in France
You studied the sciences, I went for the liberal arts
You opted for medicine but I went for a career in teaching
You entered Fourah Bay College and the then Soviet Union
Pure and Applied Sciences were your choice as aptitude dictated
And laid a solid foundation for your future vocation
While you were away in Volgograd I stayed back
When Pa Abiodun had a fall at Connaught
I was on hand to chip in at his passing on
You were then, as it were, light years away

Our paths recrossed again in our adult life
You had devoted your days to ensuring sound mind and body
While I had committed myself to developing juvenile grey matters
We again had a bump at the New England in quest of specialization
Graduate medical bursary you clinched and I masters in linguistics
We congratulated ourselves on our achievements with taps on backs
How close we’d become and the fraternal love blossomed along
Recalling how much care you extended to a sister-in-law, Marian
She taking ill and became your special patient day and night
At her passing, you openly shed tears at the St. Anthony service
That was your true nature: being physically close to your patients
Now the cold hand of death has plucked you away when most needed
All those sterling qualities now lay wasted with you in the great beyond
Sleep and rest in peace Modupeh Cole: your time was spent and up!
We family members love you well, but God Almighty loves you better.

Photo: The late Dr. Modupeh Cole.