The Tear Drier

After all the din of “I’m better! I’m best!”

and yesterday’s castles have crumbled to dust,

yesterday’s quarrels still keep us apart,

old wounds breaking our new hearts,

vowing revenge for our fathers’ abuse

so we pick up a gun and threaten to shoot


let’s stop and remember the brave men who died

to keep Ethiopia alive!

those who could not bear to watch her

being conquered or cut up,

so they called themselves up

out of the north and south and east and west,

out of every nook and cranny, every eagle’s nest

to save her from invaders and pop-up hyenas  

and made her a beacon of liberty

to light up Africa’s history.


Diversity is beautiful!

togetherness is powerful!

we glitter when we intertwine and fold,

our rainbow culture is a pot of gold!

we are like children longing for one mother,

saying please God – hear our prayer!


Ethiopia gave us our loudly different names

down the clatter of the centuries, 

she raised her hands to God and begged for us

until her arms were stiff as rust,

and now wherever an Ethiopian sit

to eat his daily bread, she sits

beside him and he says, “I am here for her”,

because his destiny is as a son of generations

born from her fertility, the tear-drier!


When her children march together

and their lives are interlaced,

one man’s good work can help another see

that exclusivity will not place

him where he wants to be,

which is in a country built with bricks

of love and lovely trees.


My mother Ethiopia!

one day the bell of peace will ring

and lovebirds sing,

your tired hands will fall down by your side

and you will dry your crying eyes!


(Written by Makonnen Wodajeneh in Amharic, and translated into English by Chris Beckett)