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Summing It All Up

  Summing It All Up By Mitiku Adisu If you were to sum up in few words the trajectories of your life what would those words be? “Life goes on” was how the octogenarian Robert Frost (d.1963) responded to a journalist’s query. Frost is gone but his memory lives on. What of Ethiopia’s preeminent communitarian poet-playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (1936—2006)? We will briefly consider the quintain below even as we fondly remember the heyday of the Ethiopian theatre ( እና ት ዓለም ጠኑ Enat Alam Tannu, an adaptation of Brecht’s Mother Courage ; ሀ ሁ በስድስት ወር Ha Hu Basidst Wer, The Alphabet in Six Months), and so on, each fully attended for months on end, with viewers poring over the playwright’s perky prose like possessed monastic holy men. Not unlike the prophets of old, Tsegaye had a disposition to carry in his person the tragedies, the beauty and hopes of the Motherland. The verse likely was composed in New York City. The playwright had come there to receive regular dial