by Stephen Ajadi

In Their Eyes


Three little kids

Crunching on stale salted biscuits

Barefoot, they padded along the crowded street

Sweaty grime on hungry faces

Empty tummies grumbling in hollow places

Unseen by the world they line in

So they created their own world and living

With stolen planks for bed

Beside the putrid sewage is where they lay their heads

Really young, they were supposed to still be innocent

Yet to take a step along the thread that leads to adolescence

“Castaways” in a friendless and brutal world

Young soldiers already bearing the scars of wars

They were …

They wore…

I bet if you saw them too, you’d be lost for words


Our paths crossed this morning

And I couldn’t help wondering

There goes a bunch of friendless urchins

I’d give them my little instead of nothing

Tattered clothes and smelly toes

So I held my breath as they came close

Hands in hands they struck a funny pose

As the youngest licked his lips and picked his nose

To amuse or to scare me only God knows

Might have been a show of comedy

If the script wasn’t written in tragedy

So with a frown I dropped my blessed last “SHANDI”


Praising the heavens for such a huge favour

They lifted their faces to say thanks once more

The voices caught me like a blow beneath the belt

And the smiles caused my practiced frowns to melt

But it was the eyes and all I saw in there

The pent of fears and the sorrow of three young years

That finally unhinged my emotions and brought down the tears

In their eyes I saw the twisted fangs of pain

Strangling hopes from three young hearts

In their eyes I saw their helplessness in the hands of a bitter fate

In their eyes I read stories that may never be told

Young lives that were already too old

Shriveling away and perhaps too weak to stand tonight’s bitter cold

In their eyes I heard their questions

And I saw my own reflections

“shey na like dis we go dey live”?



Weaker than a day old chick

As my heart failed me and plunged deep into their grief

My arms lack the strength to give them courage

And my pocket has no depth to fill their bellies with sweet porridge.

So I’m turning to you on the other side of the bridge

As you cross over us to your well stocked fridge

Add one more piece to the pile of rolls

Cos tonight there’ll be four hungry boys coming home

15 thoughts on “In Their Eyes” by ilerioluwa (@ilerioluwa)

  1. WOW.

    The last few lines killed it! Guy…


    Kudos. Well done!

  2. Editor’s Pick! Editor’s Pick!! Editor’s Pick!!!

    Ilerioluwa…you have done it once again! This is the stuff poems from 9ja or about 9ja should be about. Our writings, musings, ranting and raving should reflect the state and condition of our society.

    And then be spattered with a bit of humour, fun and play…as all work and no play…

    This is par excellence.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Beautiful!

    We really shouldn’t only talk the talk but do the do as well.

    Well done.

  4. This might have been a poem of comedy… if it didn’t tell woes of tragedy.

    Painful and heart-rending. You have passed across a piercing message that could draw even the hardened if not to tears, then to remorse.
    You are quite a poet… an artist. @ilerioluwa

  5. Speechless…the poem have dumbfold me.

    So nice.keep it up!

  6. Superb!…It flowed, carried me in its waves of emotion and the last line cinched it and drew me in-rhymes, lines and stanzas!..
    Well written, Well done and may ur ink always flow…Well done!..$ß.

  7. *sigh* when will these sort of encounters end?

  8. Your keyboard pours out lamentations many human heart carries but refuses to show…perhaps many do this out of shame and many out of guilt; but guilty we all are!.

    As I take in the scene you so beautifully described, I feel the piercing gaze of our friendless urchins as you so well put it…THE LOOK STAYS WITH YOU.

    Then when you look, really look into the eyes, you finally see the sorrow,and wide eyed misery of a fate trust upon them.

  9. Splendid writing. The final lines…wow! Impressive. Definitly worth reading again

  10. somehow I read the accolades before the poem,
    and really ur work’s worth the accolades and more…

    “In their eyes I heard their questions

    And I saw my own reflections”

    a chill ran down my spine as I read that. If only we can at least do to others what we want them to do to us, then we can enjoy the world as the world enjoys us.

    You touched me sir!
    Do it again…

  11. Poems are becoming a regular read for me now, unlike before, thumbs up- you nailed it…

  12. Wonderful! Impressive!!!

  13. great poem, though am sad for the hungry boys but that’s part of life. sober though but good writing

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