Literary Zone

Poetry: Here in Romarong

14 August 2010 at 02:11 | 1411 views

Here in Romarong

By Saidu Bangura, Praia, Cape Verde.

Here in Romarong , this is all you see-
groups of people recounting sweet happenings
as they listen to bitter news;
somnambulists in broad day light
enjoy the dream system as it floats;
a proud people barter their sweat
for a morsel as time fades away;
a bundle-toting people, some going up,
some down, enjoying bruised party music.

Here in Romarong,
offices boast full of emptiness,
Institutions are noisy with ghost tutors
amidst the hurly-burly of holidaying students,
Firms and their proprietors are greeted daily
with the solemn vacuum of the grave yard
as money becomes a floating commodity.
Death is no more dreadful –
as lethal lancets become the voice
with freedom fighters enslaving freely –
as the gnawing pains of hunger
become the daily bread.

Here in Romarong, tears are so close
as the braying of metal sticks go berserk;
here, you listen then you talk or else...
here, rest is so burdensome that
you sleep all day
and be wakeful at night or else...
here, you either ‘black’ or stay put;
here, hope is a reserve –
as the days run so close
for the monster to ‘black’ away –
as to hope is to emasculate hope.

Saidu Bangura, January 1, 1998.

Editor’s Note: Romarong (Rom’rong) is the original Temne name for Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The name, according to some scholars, means "the town of weeping and wailing" due to the frequent boat accidents at sea. Other scholars however say it means "the town of hills" or "hilly town", due to the hills surrounding what is now the city of Freetown.

Saidu Bangura (photo) is a PhD candidate (Linguistics) at the University of Las de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain. He is a part-time lecturer (Literature) at the University of Cape Verde and Full time ESP lecturer at the Jean Piaget University of Cape Verde.