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Azabo Revisited

By Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin
Translator: Mitiku Adisu

Seeing is what eyes are for,
Before the spell on life span is dimmed,
Fourteen years have gone by,
And to Azabo I returned …
I observed her confines,
And gave ear to her vibes …
Hearing is what ears are for,
So long as body parts are active,
I salute Azabo, hooray!
After fourteen long years away;
Her voice then was distant, nil,
Like cough of the deathly ill—
A phantom, all downhill;
Shadow of nightmares,
Terror of evil days;
Mist above the plaza, whirling vulture wings;
Earth, like cutting file ridges;
Teeth clashing, gnashing like church bell,
Lamentation as no sound could ever tell;
Humanity, field mice in the underbrush,
Squeaking, groaning, sudden hush,
Birds of prey above rooftops cawing,
Not any tone, wailing, clawing;

Today well-being is on display,
Children everywhere at play,
Cattle leisurely grazing,
Villagers cackling, buzzing;
“All things considered,” they’d say;
The hearth is awoke,
Every hut pluming waving smoke;
Seeing is what eyes are for,
Till the spell on life span is broken,
Fourteen long years later,
Hooray! I am in Azabo again.

© 2017 by Mitiku Adisu. All Rights Reserved.
“አዘቦን ዳግም አየኋት” | ጸገመ 1963 ዓ.ም – መቀሌ | እሳት ወይ አበባ፣ 1999 ዓ.ም. ግራፊክስ ማተሚያ፤ ገጽ 206—207
Original painting by Lemma Guya