Featured Poem

Greetings to the People of Europe!

Over land and sea, your fathers came to Africa 
and unpacked bibles by the thousand,
filling our ancestors with words of love:

if someone slaps your right cheek,
let him slap your left cheek too!

if someone takes your coat,
let him have your trousers too!

Now we, their children’s children,
inheriting the words your fathers left behind,
our bodies slapped and stripped
by our lifetime presidents,

are braving seas and leaky boats,
cold waves of fear –
let salt winds punch our faces and your coast-guards
pluck us from the water like oily birds!

but here we are at last to knock at your front door,
hoping against hope that you remember
all the lovely words your fathers preached to ours.

» Comment on this translation 0 comment(s)

About the translation:
Poet:
Alemu Tebeje
Translator:
Chris Beckett, Alemu Tebeje
Original language:
Amharic
Issue:
2016 Number 1 - SOLD OUT - The Great Flight

About the author

Original poet

Alemu Tebeje

ALEMU TEBEJE is an Ethiopian journalist, poet and web-campaigner based in London. His poems have been published in the antholo...

» Read more
Chris Beckett

Translator

Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett grew up in Ethiopia and his translations of contemporary Amharic poets such as Bewketu Seyoum and Zewdu Milikit...

» Read more

Translator

Alemu Tebeje

ALEMU TEBEJE is an Ethiopian journalist, poet and web-campaigner based in London. His poems have been published in the antholo...

» Read more

Comment

No Comments

ADD YOUR COMMENT


Browse poems

By original language »

By issue of MPT »

Go Digital

Subscribe to the digital edition of MPT for access to all back issues and to the Exactly app.» View free trial issue

Back to top
Supported by Arts Council England

Copyright © Modern Poetry in Translation and contributors
Website design ashbydesign
Developed by Code Frontiers
Powered by Storemill