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Walking slowly home from school
On a scorching Saturday afternoon
Village friends and I were crunching sugarless gari
Giggling gently at the contortions of our jaws
As we chewed and chattered
Words spluttered from our over-stuffed mouths

No water on that narrow bushy road
Only saliva to swallow down what stuck in our throats
Before our bellies groaned in pain
While we strolled we told our hopes and struggles
‘No life is barren, all sad stories are gold
Our dim star shall shine someday’

At home during the night
As the moon sprinkled its light on our faces
And parent birds sang their young to sleep
We made our wishes for the future
Some seemed impossible to grasp
Because of our background and low status

I wished to see and talk to God about my destiny
Tell him to plant me where good things come alive
I wished to meet the present Queen of England
Ask her the secret of happiness
Open my heart like a morning window
For her to see what it holds

One of my friends wished to appear and disappear
Every second, every minute, every hour
Travel to different European states by wind power
Never to return back home
His face changed to the shape of sadness
When we said that was an ungrateful wish

Every kid in my homeland
Is taught to wish for good
Lives in the village are like marbles
Struggling to aim from where they’re thrown
Struggles range from hard to hardest
Nothing fruitful to harvest

Ibrahim Sorie Bangura, aka Cleffy, is a Sierra Leonean poet and musician. Born in 1992, in a subsistence farming village; he migrated to the capital Freetown in 2011 to escape rural poverty, surviving on the streets for several years before joining WAYout Arts for Youth. In 2017 Cleffy was short-listed for a Commonwealth Writers Adda Poetry commission. His work has appeared in Written Off: poems and stories from the streets of Sierra Leone (2018) and in online literary magazines; Praxis Magazine Online, Write the City, Writers Space Africa and Better than Starbucks. He recently completed a poetry project supported by the Prince Claus Fund.

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