Literary Zone

Poetry: Kobba to Kobola

23 October 2007 at 10:20 | 1874 views

Kobba to Kobola

By Jonathan Peters, USA.

For seka ilehkshorn
Big man lors irehkshorn
Kornvat pan wi to John Kobba
Nehks tin, Kobba torn Kobola
Yu se na nansi tori, ma
For mek Kobba torn Kobola?
No to di sem fala fashin
Wehn Joseph bin torn Josephine?

A tehl yu se na drim a drim o
Bort no to orl drim na lay o
A drim se Kabbah wehr kabaslort
Orl kayn porkit ful wit balort
Yu wan tif di ilehkshorn?
Yu geht prorblehm wit irehkshorn?
If Kabbah wehr kabaslort, pa
Kobba nor kin torn Kobola?

Wetin na di stratiji
We dehn de mek dis majiji
Tif tif God laf? No to dis yia
Kabbah in tehm dorn rorn oba
Ol pipul kin se wehn korp ful
I ful te I rorn orbor so saful
No to for rornawe, tork tru
Bifo dehn vehks rornorbor yu?

Wehn ku mek Johnny Paul tan ap
Kabbah bin pas Kabala, Pamelap
Wehn i split pan wi flay go Guinea
Torn Lansana Conteh in rehfyugi
Mek do nor klin ehn gi am rorng
Spirit we fasin insay torng?
I bin ehva ask wi pamishorn?
Dis no to drim na tru vashorn.

Bort mek wi nor tink bort vayolehns
Dis na drim, bort na for kapu sehns
Bort Pa Kabbah bort kabaslort
bort irehkshorn, ilehkshorn balort
Bort Kabbahlayt, bort John Kobba.
Bort if dehn korbalayt wi ehn agbara
Kam ilehkshorn de vot nor vot a min
Bo grorn ren no to for was wi klin?

If Fritorng torn River Jordan, ya
No to wi orl go baptayz, bra?
For seka wara were ilehkshorn
Wi luk pin we yu irehkshorn?
Baptayz bay imashorn agbara
Instehd of lili sprinkul wata?
Big man kornvat to John Kobba
Wayo, Kobba torn Kobola

Dis na di drim vashorn walay
Dis tork we kam na for luk insay
Int na savant we no im masta
Kabaslort no im misis, ma, sa,
For waka rawnd witawt tornorbor.
Na for tehl kusheh, mek es, kabor
No NPA laytin bort tehnda, laytin
Wit beberebe Kobba lay tin.

Editor’s note: This poem is in Krio, Sierra Leone’s lingua franca.Professor Peters wrote this song/poem in July 2007, during the heat of the political campaign in Sierra Leone.It was the last of six poems he wrote.It is from a forthcoming book, "Amour Amoral" in English and French where a persona in the poem in his mid twenties (the Guinean-Sierra Leonean) goes to Sierra Leone in July-August and cooperates with his young cousins to write lyrics in Krio, as an aside from his regular poems in French. The lyrics are about then President Kabbah. The other half of the poems is written by a black American woman persona in her mid thirties writing in English.

Here is an English translation of the poem:

Kobba to Kobola

Because of the election
A big man lost his erection
Converted on us to John Kobba
Next , Kobba turned to Kobola
You call that Nancy story,ma
Kobba to become Kobola?
Wasn’t the same copy cat fashion
That turned Joseph to Josephine?

I tell you that I dreamed a dream, eh
But not all dreams are false dreams, eh
Kabbah in a cover-cloth I dreamed
Pocket upon pocket with ballots streamed
You planning to steal the election?
You got a problem with erection?
If Kabbah wears a cover-cloth, pa
Why can’t Kobba become Kobola?

What’s the strategy, now
With them making all the fuss, how?
We steal, God laughs? This year? o no
Kabbah’s term’s gone over, just so
As old folks say when the cup is full
Full to running over be careful
Isn’t it time to run away, speak true
Before in anger they run over you?

When a coup made Johnny Paul the Pa
Did Kabbah go by Pamelap, Kabala
When he skipped town, flew to Guinea
Became Lansana Conte’s refugee
So at dawn he will not be in a piddle
A spirit stuck right in town’s middle?
Did he ever ask our permission?
This is truth it’s no dream version.

But let’s not think about violence
It’s no dream but you got to grab sense
About Pa Kabbah, about erection
About cover-cloth, ballot for election
About Kabbah-light, about John Kobba.
But if they dupe us and torrents are
There election day voting ruined I mean
Won’t pouring rain serve to wash us clean?

If Freetown becomes River Jordan, ya
Won’t we all get baptised, Brer?
Because of a runaway election
We look hard where is your erection?
Baptized by immersion tidal torrents
Instead of sprinkles with no currents
Big man converts to John Kobba
Some trick, Kobba turned Kobola

This is the dream version, indeed
This subject needs a very good read
A servant, Hint, well knows his master
Cover-cloth knows her missus, ma, sah,
With no somersault to walk around
To say welcome, goodbye and well done
No NPA lighting, but thunder, lightning
With tons and tons of Kobba lying thing.