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by Obediah Browne ~ (June 02 2005)  

A young Liberian poet translates the social and political sclerosis that had befallen Liberia in
heroic couplets and historical stanzas.Viewing the sickness from the class angle firstly on one hand and the lack of political will ,agenda coupled with economic vampirism on the other,he not only communicate the general griefs and sorrows that characterized the fourteen -years fatricidal civil crisis, but also expose the agencies and their oppressive systems that work pari passu to keep Liberians under the jackboat of bare-faced oppression and subjugation.

The title of the corpus,LISTEN COMRADES is a wake-up call to all the forces of progress to take up the gauntlet of solving the new political calculus of rescuing Liberia from the brink of the precipice on which it is located.

Before us lies the open grave.Let's make hay while the sunshine or we shall witness our beloved country chant her funeral song on her way to Golgotha.


In the first of the series ,THE ROTTEN CARCASS,which got its title from an article written by Dr.Fahnbulleh during the heydays of the Taylor era,the author captures the prevalent and habitual 'sheepish timidity' with which the oppressed people of Liberia
reacted to their oppressors and echoes the need for a radical departure from the status quo with an unrelenting 'resolve' that the 'Carcass' of bad governance,and its concommitant evils 'shall never again rot in the land'.

Shifting and turning his masterly attention to the high level of deprivity,criminal neglect and the overall human abuse of the Liberian children,Comrade Browne portrays the day to day life condition of these children in CHILD OF NEGLECT.

Drawing his experience heavily from his numerous trips across the West African sub-region where Liberians live as refugees,the young poet once more explicitly tells the world the plight and harsh conditions face by the Liberian children and their mothers,who are being forced into white slavery or prostitution to make ends meet.The voices of these children beg for attention. HISTORIA IPSA LOQUITUR(Wellington Jah ,Department of Economics,Anambra State University of Science and Technology)



An unfortunate creation
His mother,a street dweller,
His promiscous father,
A bastard champion.

Could it be his fault
That he's a product of the street?
Poor tender chap
That in slums he finds delight
That he has a mother with no husband
Though many a men he sees
Caressing his mother
On a stool or lumpy bed?

Poor child of neglect
Dumped on the ground to make room
For his midnight fathers
Or on a putrid mat
Where he spends his nights
Among the empty dishes
And roaming rats and tempting roaches.

Poor child of neglect
The discharge of a street dweeler
Who knows his mothe a whore
His father a scoundrel
A surrogate child to robbers and thieves.

Will he ever taste motherly love,
Or feel the soft hands of a caring mother
Except the rough hands of whores
with deflated breasts and fast shaking buttocks
Which send seismic shock down her client's spine?

A doomed creation
This poor child of neglect
Who was blundgeoned and tortured before birth
With concocted herbs and drugs
To annul and canceal his unnumbered days.

An escapee of primitive abortion,
Will he ever taste motherly love
Or feel the soft hands of a caring mother
Except the rough hands of whores
With deflated breasts and fast shaking buttocks
Which send seismic shock down her client's spine?


We can not blind ourselves
to the putrefying carcass in the public square
inviting giant maggots from their furrows

We cannot bury our heads in the sand
with sheepish timidity
under the jackboat of oppression.

We cannot sleep ourselves to stupor
and allow another power-maniac
take us to the grave.

We cannot salute the general
whose kudos are not medals of gallantry
but heaps of skulls and amputees.

We cannot hail the pharisaical intellectual
who seizes to remonstrate
when visited by the high priest.

We need no mourners in our stride
For they are spokes in the wheels of progress
we need no tears,no fears

Only this:Resolve
that the carcass
shall never again rot in the land.


Those strange times
which smash to smithereens
the days full lenght
and overcrowded the fearful nights
with shadows of a new day.

Those strange days
which battled against existence
and eroded the hopes of a new life
leaving behind stigmata of anguish.

Those strange days
which reduce men to the lowest term
killing hope slowly
and sowing the seed of darkness.

Those strange days
when the thought of progress was a whip
that hissed and tore through the skin
leaving behind tattoos of agony.

Those strange and unforgettable days
when man ceased to be man
and the penis became a breadwinner
while the strotum bear the unbearable brunt.

Days oh!gloomy days
when sickness was an in thing
and promisciuty a plaything,
where are your legacies?


It is the sin of the tongue
that kils the garrulous one
and the silent live the life of saint.

It is the sin of the genitals
that consumes the sensous one
and the destitute dies the death of the stomach.

It is the sin of the cup
that claims the life of the drunkard
while drinking deep sobers the scholars again.

It is the sin of the eardrum
that claims the eavesdropper
while the dance of death calls the dancer home.

It is the sin of the muscle
that kills the valiant one
while the beggar returns home with a bowl of coins.

It is the sin of reading
that intixicates the shallow one
while the wise rejoice at every drop of knowledge.

It is the of money
that stupefies the corrupt one
while the the alms-giver seeks for more.

It is the enigma of the world
that leads many astray
while the gods kill the beloved one.


Deep down my lonely heart
in which matrix of thoughts convolute
was a cup filled to the brim.

Down the inner chambers of my psyche,
the nerve-center of my being
was a violent pain.

There down the valley of chaos
which is consumed by stygian darkness
was a tempest chiseled in my heart.


Listen comrades of the crying country
to the keen clamour of the masses from Buchanan to
they have killed Tarpiah
as they killed Tweh,Coleman and others.
Or the peasant down there in the thick woods of the
Puta Range
he held in his look comrades
the warm faith of a heart without anguish
and his smile despise agony.
Despite the wounds of his broken body
kept the colours of a bouquet of hope.
It is true they have killed Tarpiah with his mens sibi
conscia recti
who several times pour for us milk and light
I feel his hands on my shoulders
and the violent tremor of his breast
and I am lost again
like a plant torn from the maternal bosom
But no!
for there rings out higher than my sorrows
purer that the morning when the cock wakes
the cry of a hundred people smashing their chains
and my blood long held in solitude
the blood of a child away from home
rediscovers the fervour that scatters the mists
Listen comrades of the crying country
to the keen clamour of the masses from Zwedru to Bomi
it is the sign of the the dawn
the sign of brotherhood which comes to nourish the
dreams of men.


you are the aggrieved nests
in which the migrant bird lay no eggs
in which it never enters to brood.

You are the victims of a premature revolution
hatched by bastards and sluggards
parading with their ill-gotten dividends;
you are the unfortunate victims
in your brick-made bungalows
reckoning the lost they cost you.

You are also the victims,our dead ones
buried by installments in makeshift caskets
in which ants and termites carried out the post
You are the ill-fated victims
body and flesh lacerated by medical dogs
making spectacle of your scapula,patella and zygomata

You are also the victims
young sapling torn from the maternal bosom
yet commodifying your private partys
Victims!Lamentable Victims
jettisoned from the fatherland by civil brouhaha
hard core whores on the shores of Accra,Lagos,Lome

The victims are many yea multitudinous
interlopers at internatinal pactum nudums
They are messengers of rift and criminal in disguise
casting dice over positions
orifices through which they could syphon the coffers
while the death toil snowball at home

They are the migrant praise singers
singing the songs of equity though gold diggers they
hastening the land on its via dolorasa.

The day will surely go
the day will still go by,
though millions you stole
and pocket it across the sea
though you ravage the nations coffers
and store your your treasures in far away places
the day will slip and slid away
the time of the locust will pass
like sorrow or pain.


I will talk no more
I will listen to nobody's talk,
I will wait no more
I will plunge into the deep
though several hurdles athwart my path
and the sword of democles hangs over head
I will move,go and do

On citadel of learning doors
I will knock aloud and gain entrance;
Of the manliness of courageous men I will read
Of the ancien regimes I will read
I will sweep the dust from ancient scrolls
And,going after the Golden Fleece
I will move,go and do

I will navigate the world
and eat from the bowls of men and their thoughts
assimilate their juices in my belly
to make myself a glorious scholar
imparting knowledge to old and young
knowledge of their place under the sun
for these I will move,go and do.


Monrovia,I have long been away from you
migrating like a hebrew in the desert
but every time while lonely
amid the horrors and terrors of being in a distant
and the malice of solitude
I feel the warmth of your breast.

Fosering mother reaching out to your sons
we with our varied facet of hopes
but all boasting that you are a caring mother
despising your image but working to redeem it
because you have become a disgrace to mankind.
And now in this year of my odyssey
my heart becomes a receptacle of anger and pain
I am saddenen to write a story of your life.

I am saddenend by the news you sent me,Monrovia
that you are what I left you
a city lying in squalor by the Atlantic
a city full of your own offsprings-cheats and thieves
your uglified picture haunts me like a spectre
your news is nothing to write home about
your citadels of learning arte hungry and empty
while your medical centers are but anachronisms to

Your news hauants me like a ghost
but amid all the plunder and squalor and anachronism
you shall again like the historical phoenix rise up
and pass terrible judgement on those rascal
who ravage ang pillage your coffers
their aristocratic cult and system shall wither away
and there shall be regeneration,Monrovia


We travelled a long journey
through the sparse grassland of Lofa
crossed the high pointing Wologisi
whose snowcapped peak smiles languildly
as if dispirited the the shattered glories of her

We traversd the dark forest of Sinoe
through the deflowered National Park
whose canopy wrinkled her face
as a repentant prostitute looks at her first client

We journeyed deep into the Cavalla are
meanderedthrough her rich shores.
There we met the lady of the land
the custodian of the secrets of secrets
the harbinger of peace ang light

And we young travellers she took to her sanctum
the sanctum of mystiques and knowledge
and there with our naked eyes
we saw the diseases that trouble the soul:
that homini lupus homo
that the dumbs don't tell lies
that the blind can't be peeping- toms
that true friendship grows when tested
that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the land
that the ancien regime was in itself a negation
that churches and lodges were tributaries of the same

She again took us in her bosom and unrolled before us
the ancient scroll
therein we saw the names of our unsung heroes:
D.Tweh and Juah Nimene and Albert Porte and Blyden

About the author:

OBEDIAH BROWNE,incumbent Secretary General of the Association of Liberian Students in Nigeria(ALSIN) has written several articles and poems about Liberia.Drawing mainly as his themes Nationalism and what he calls the 'LIBERIAN RENAISSANCE' Browne's poems cut across a variety of issues aim at re-awakening Liberian Poetry.

An ardent admirer of POE,KIPLING,DEMPSTER,D.TWEH, PORTE,MILTON,POPE,DIOP AND THE NEGRITUDE MOVEMENT,the Obediah Browne is a Candidate of Bachelor of Engineering Degree(BEng)in Structural Engineering He can be contacted at or

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