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African Anthem, Eritrea’s Daughter and Poverty

Read Charles Cantalupo's translation notes on the centre-justification used by Reesom Haile.

African Anthem

Rainbow, rainbow
Where have you been?
My mother needs a sash
To match her skin.

A shower of colours
To catch her eye,
A garment of light,
Across the sky –

Shining like her face,
Streaming from the sun,
Seven different colours,
To reflect my special one.

One colour’s not enough –
Nor one without the other.
All of them must be
Worthy of my mother.

Rainbow, rainbow
Where have you been?
My mother needs a sash
To match her skin.

Eritrea’s Daughter

Eritrea’s daughter
Says what isGod her witness

She knows the worst
Goes hungry
Feeds her children first

Eritrea’s daughter
Makes a home
For young and old

Eritrea’s daughter
Drips her honey
Greater than Eritrea’s gold

Eritrea’s daughter
Also knows war
Forgets fear
Wears a bandoleer

Eritrea’s daughter
Love her in all you do
And she drips honey on you


I have nothing.
Taste it with me.
If we share,We can bear
The worst poverty.

Run away
And not even say
‘God Bless. Good day’?
Why choose
Greed over me?

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About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Reesom Haile
Charles Cantalupo
Original language:
Tigrinya (Eritrea)
2013 Number 2 - Between Clay and Star

About the author

Original poet

Reesom Haile

Reesom Haile was Eritrea’s first internationally known poet. He wrote in Tigrinya, one of Eritrea’s nine major languages. In...

» Read more
Charles Cantalupo


Charles Cantalupo

Charles Cantalupo's recent work includes War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry (2009), Who Needs a Story? Contemporary... » Read more


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