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The poem has its background in the ten year civil war that ravaged the country of Sierra – Leone during which a lot of lives and properties were lost and many Sierra –Leones were displaced. The poet is one of the few Sierra –leoneans that decided to go into  reconstruction and rehabilitation of Sierra –leone after the war.  Apart from his physical and financial contributions to rebuild the war rauaged country,the poet also  ventures into writing to expose and teach the Liberian youths the evil effect of war.


The following are the poetic devices used in the poem.

  • Metaphor -lines 2, 7, 10, 11, and 13.
  • Personification _lines 8, 9 and
  • Rhetoric question _ line 16.
  • Alliteration _ line 5 and 20.
  • Repetition _ line2 and 25, lines 3 and 8, lines 4 and 8, lines 12 and 15 and lines 21 an d 23
  • Paradox _line one and two.
  • Symbols: This is one of the strength in this poem.The poet uses many symbols to make the poem meaningful and beautiful



  • The destructive consequences of war as seen in gun wounds and other deprivations the people suffered.
  • The disorder, fears and chaos that accompany civil strife as seen in the children scampering for food and safety.
  • The problem of malnutrition, hunger and outbreak of diseases in war –torn societies as seen in cracked lips and cholera epidemic.
  • The flight of reason and unity in the event of war as seen in the last stanza where the poet’s resolution fell like a pack of cards because there is no one to support his revolutionary ideas.



Discuss the theme of war in the poem.

ASSIGNMENT: How would you describe the background of the poem.


See also

Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara


African Poetry



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