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)