Poem notes

Before the Birth of Toys

By Reesom Haile

Reesom Haile wrote ‘Before the Birth of Toys’ during a time
when he was writing a poem almost every day and publishing it immediately on the internet. The website was popular with readers in Eritrea, where Reesom lived, but also with Eritreans around the world. Each poem appeared like a morsel of daily bread, eagerly grasped by a reading public who were caught up in the nation- building of Eritrea, which won its independence in 1991.
Celebrating independence from European colonialism, many
an African nation could echo, or should I say, translate, William Wordsworth’s famous words: ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
/ But to be young was very heaven’. As the 1990s unfolded, Eritrea embodied it loud and clear. And Reesom Haile’s spirit was always young. Living in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, he was constantly high-spirited, and his peers found it hard to keep up with him. His poems consistently exhibited a playful tone or, in his more serious lyrics, a playful edge. Typical of the playfulness throughout Reesom Haile’s poetry, ‘Before the Birth of Toys’ sounds like a memory from his actual childhood or, at least, some other typical Eritrean boy’s, raised in rural Eritrea and born into a family of traditional farmers.

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