Amharic Love Song
I have found this translation of an old Amharic song in a journal, Black Orpheus that came out some fourty years ago.
No literary-historical background is given and no mention of the translator is made.It only says Love Song (from the amharic).
I think it will certainly be of great interest to anyone interested in Amharic folk poetry.
You lime of the forest, honey among the rocks,
Lemon of the cloister, grape in the savannah.
A hip to be enclosed by one hand:
A thigh round like a psiton.
Your back-a manuscript to read hymns from.
Your eye triggerhappy, shoots heroes.
Your gown cobweb-tender,
Your shirt like soothing balm.
Soap? o no, you wash in Arabian scent,
Your calf painted with silver lines.
I dare not touch you!
Hardly dare to look back.
You mistress of my body:
More precious to me than my hand or my foot.
Like the fruit of the valley, the water of paradise.
Flower of the sky;wrought by divine craftsmen;
With muscular thigh she stepped on my heart
Her eternal heel trod me down.
But have no compassion with me:
Her breast resembles the finest gold;
When she opens her heart-
The saviors image!
And Jerusalem herself, sacred city,
sjouts “holy, holy!”
Source: Black Orpheus
A Journal of African and Afro-American Literature, no 19, March 1966