Alemu Tebeje Ayele
The saucepan and the cabbage
At the departure of my best friend
My best friend has died
and my grief is a fire that burns even my tears.
I miss his honest smile,
his goodness keeps me company.
Now the mourners walk away
and do not see me burning for my best friend.
He is far from life now,
burnt out of his life by the flames of yellow fever.
~ Alemu Tebeje Ayele, trans. from Amharic by the author and Chris Beckett
Alemu Tebeje Ayele is an Ethiopian journalist, social worker, poet and web-campaigner based in London. His poems have been published in the anthologies ‘Forever Spoken’ and ‘No Serenity Here’, featuring 26 poets from 12 African countries.
Chris Beckett grew up in Ethiopia in the 1960s and his acclaimed collection of praise shouts and boasts, ‘Ethiopia Boy’, was published by Carcanet in 2013. The book of his collaborative project with artist Isao Miura, ‘Sketches from the Poem Road’, has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2015.