They Don’t Know the Other Life

They Don’t Know the Other Life

Teenage prostitute,
the age of my youngest sister
who has not clocked puberty.
A hard life it must be
being reared back and forth
by daddies and grand-daddies
in the dingy rooms
and on the filthy beds
that should have been cared for
by clean bedspreads
which would have given warmth
to some young virtuous flesh.

Child conductor
masking fear and tiredness
with a gaunt face that has
not known better yesterdays.
The stress he feels is not enough.
He must still be bullied
by uncaring drivers and adult commuters
who see nothing wrong.

Baby hawker
toddling on bare feet
you can hardly speak!
Yet you, even you
have been cut off from mother’s care
and driven to the road
To bring in the kobos.
You don’t know the other life
of school bags, shoes and teachers
of cosy care imbued with hope.

The other life is beyond the river–in full glare.
But crossing visual expanse alone
will not give the bliss that seems so within reach.
Barbed wires of class and callousness
will not let you children
taste the pleasures of the good life.

The sex worker, the conductor,
the baby hawker;
These child labourers.

They do not have the blessing
nor the permission
To cross the river.

41 thoughts on “They Don’t Know the Other Life” by chemokopi (@chemokopi)

  1. Nice one chemo….Christ meted out the punishment to people who cause the little ones to fall into sin. All of them would get queried surely…Well done..$ß.

    1. Chemo (@chemokopi)

      Thanks @sibbylwhyte…and good reminder about their fate!

  2. Nice work Chemo…

  3. RIO (@riowrites)

    *Sigh* Sad but true. Nice one.

  4. Chemo, you successfully capture the plight of the weaker vessels, those unable to protect themselves, whom society should defend.

    I like. Well done.

    1. Chemo (@chemokopi)

      Thanks @aturmercy. I appreciate your kind words.

  5. Chai……VIVID VERY VIVID!!!
    Good work

    1. Chemo (@chemokopi)

      Thanks @gretel. You are too kind!

  6. strong theme, good poem. bueno visto

    1. Chemo (@chemokopi)

      Much gratitude @clemency

      1. my pleasure sir

  7. Nice poem chemo…Very nice…

    1. Chemo (@chemokopi)

      @raymond: Much gratitude for your kind words.

  8. Bravo! Yet another reminder of the harsh existence of the innocent. Ravaged by excesses in varied forms.

  9. Chemo (@chemokopi)

    @dottaraphels: Thanks for your comments. Indeed many innocent children are being abused daily. This poem was inspired by a visit to Kuramo Beach during an excursion. We arrived there at about 11pm and left at about 4am. I saw a girl not more than 12 years all painted and dressed up for the night trade. Before my very eyes a teenage girl was almost beating by the man who had just slept. And right across were the residential towers, and the affluent people who live there.

    1. @chemokopi

      It’s for that simple reason I avoid Kuramo like the plague. Dayum.

      This is sad. Painfully so.

      Made worse by the fact that all we can do is walk on by and sigh in our minds.

      Well done.

      1. @Seun-Odukoya, You can’t be more on point. Very sad indeed.

  10. I share your passion and feel your pain in this poem. We are however consoled by the fact that one day under God, they too shall find rest.

    1. Thanks @sontel. The truth is we can all make a change even if little, and even if to a few lives, so that these little children can have better childhoods here on earth.

  11. Very well done.

    “….You don’t know the other life
    of school bags, shoes and teachers”
    my fav.

    Thanks for contributing a therapy through art.

    1. Thanks @ostar! I am humbled.

  13. Nice poem. Strong message.

  14. @admin, you have to check this your site o. Several of my comments aren’t usually posted until about the third or fourth attempt. It just takes me straight to the next page. Just like other posts, I’ve commented on this post before but I can’t find it.

    @Chemokopi, I feel your pain. Really, they don’t and might never know.

    1. Thanks @babyada. As for the site issues, it has reduced my level of participation to a considerable extent.

  15. beautiful piece chemo.well done!!!!!!!!!!.

    1. Thanks @empresewande. I appreciate your kind words!

  16. sunshine (@nicolebassey)

    hmmmm. A reminder that poverty and child abuse is becoming ‘normal’ in many places. i can clearly see their faces. I think this would do well in an anthology for unicef…. well done

    1. Wow! Thanks @nicolebassey. I appreciate your vision of what this poem can accomplish.

  17. Nice one…many Nigerians children and adult alike don’t know the other life.

  18. @sylvia: Indeed. Indeed. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  19. This is very simple, very simple but then, it carries weight. Sad, sad, sad.
    I know the feeling of grief tha defies any healing…
    The sadness that creates hardness… May Aondo help us. Damn those beaches!

    1. @Sueddie: Powerful words sir. It is true of sadness and incredible grief calcifying the heart and obliterating any promise of healing. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  20. @chemokopi, …beautifully said!

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