Posts Tagged ‘Lament of a prodigal son’

Lament of A Prodigal Son

July 16, 2008 7 comments

It was a surprise and delight to find an English poem written by Dr. Yonas Admassu in “Emergences’, a journal that I came across by chance in a small bookshop. The inside note says that it is the journal of the Group for the Study of Composite Cultures, published by the University of California.

Dr. Yonas is an assistant professor of Amharic literature in the department of Ethiopian Languages and Literatures at Addis Ababa University. In addition to his teaching post, Dr. Yonas produces various criticism and translation works famous for the lucidity and brilliance in both style and content. Yet he has also some poems to his credit.

I’ve already posted a poem that he has translated from Amharic before and once again I am taking the liberty of posting his whole poem here.

The poem, one could safely say, establishes a clear, precise prose standard and is accessible and plainspoken. He describes of his walk to the cemetery where he says has discovered a “solitary figure upon which sat the noble ideas of an old friend” and to his grandmother’s tukul where he says saw a snail “patiently leaving a trail of life” and a moth “dancing about to an inaudible rhythm”.                                                                 

                                                   Lament of A Prodigal Son

                                                      (or, Homewardbound)


In my mind’s mind,

hovering some thirty thousand feet

above neatly arranged patches of brown and green,

I tried to recreate the bits and pieces

of an unfulfilled vow,

and landed with a limping imagination.


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