Leave the last word to the hero (Tsegaye G/Medhin’s poem about Abune (pope) Petros)

It is to be recalled that unwilling to yield hands to fascist Italian troops that briefly occupied some parts of Ethiopia, by way of revenge for the humiliating defeat they suffered 40 years back at ADWA, spreading banned poisons gas on our patriots in a number of sorties, our flag-wavers had mounted a Guerrilla fight to dislodge the colonizers from this ancient country that surfed the tide of time with freedom.

Fascists’ attempt to subdue the nationalistsentiment-imbued Ethiopians by carrot and stick approach didn’t work, for even religious leaders like Pope Petros called down a curse on the people and the land if they surrender to blood suckers that infested Ethiopia and Askaries they trained .

In a show of integrity, even after tortured and held at a gun point, the pope Petros did not flinch an inch from his firm stance Ethiopia is a God-bestowed wealth to hospitable Ethiopians and as such there is no reason why it stoops to impositions to desecrate it.

For this noble cause he was martyred by traitors that follow the dictate of fascist leaders to the letter. As ancient authors of historic drama put it “Leave the last word to the hero,” poet laureate

Tsegaye in the laboratory of his imagination did reenact the feeling of the poet at the last moment of his martyrdom. This dramatic piece in form of a picturesque and descriptive poem captures the pope’s supplication to Saint Mary to help him not to cower under the pressure of fascists and abjure his country.

He beseeches Her not to forsake Ethiopia, Her right arm and Her belt, as Ethiopia has no ally other than Her. Proving exemplary, the pope wanted to demonstrate to Ethiopians to show integrity in the face of adversity and defend nation’s sovereignty. The poem also reveals how Europeans blindfolded by the cancer of fascism and heavily saddled by the neck-tumor of Nazism were indulging in injustices and atrocities.

It as well captures the scenery sand greenery of Ethiopia the persona grew up observing in his childhood and later as a herdsman. He recounts the time he spent under the shade of fruits laden tree. How he sheltered under leaves-made –umbrella like rain coat (Gesa) to avoid a heavy downpour.

He paints how he ran amok chasing rabbits anxious of foxes. He enumerates how he swam in rives and dived into it clinging on clipper trees, how he participated in horse riding, how he enjoyed honey extracting from hives, how he tuned to the mellifluous music of birds, how the harvest danced to the symphony of the wind and how he attended church masses the replica of the Ark of the covenant named after Mary stamped on his heart.

Alluding to the food chain, it also shows how Ethiopia’s soil, flora and fauna in a form of blood flow in his veins. In the introductory part of the Poem, Petros at that Moment the poets explains what motivated him to write the poem.

Attending a meeting early at night while he was walking out of the then Radio station in Piazza he came across a drunkard pissing on the monument of pope Petros claiming the monument is a sheer stone.

He was insulting the pope hurling on him “You ended up a stone while your likes (traitors) are driving Mercedes.” Angry the poet shouted at him the “Pope Petros is not a stone but a martyr.”

At last, the two ended up fighting to be pacified by passersby who were attendees of the meeting. Back at home, the poet penned down the poem late at night. The poem sets an example to this generation to value sovereignty and territorial integrity


The Ethiopian   20 February  2022

Leave a Reply