Monday, October 15, 2012

Glory Days

Bai Tamia Johnson Moore was born in Dimeh, Liberia in 1916. Moore is perhaps Liberia's best known writer of the 20th century. Moore experimented with various genre of of writing during his life time including folklore, poetry, essay, crime, and the novel. Commonly called Bai T. Moore across Liberia, he is best remembered for the novelette "Murder in the Cassava Patch (1968), which was followed by  The Money Doubler (1976) and the well received poetry book, Ebony Dust (1962), which was republished in 2001. He remains an inspiration to many Liberian writers even today. Moore was also a public servant at the time of his death in 1988, at the Liberia's Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Glory Days which appears below was published in 1976, in the Ebony Dust. 

Bai T. Moore (1916-1988)

I wandered in the moonlit night
to view the glory of the past

      The ruins of those pioneer days
      were silhouetted against the light

where once stood mansions decked with pride
now ruled by vipers and the bats
are 'nough to make one stop and sigh

The broken frames can hardly stand
the beating of the constant rain

      And on the landscape high above
      the ruins of the parish too

can tell the ghostly story plain
beneath the grass stand epitaphs
 a remnant of some burial ground

A lordly cricket once in a while
will break the silence with a sound

      Or in some distant woods a drum
      a native feast in feverish swing

I wonder after all these years
these ancient ruins can rise again
and brighten up a dismal scene?

***poem (this edition) arranged by ralph geeplay

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