One,all that brought

 

(2 April 2014)

GRD’s third Birthday

When we Celebrate today,

We reaffirm

Every sacrifice to pay,

For instance say

Forgoing breakfast

Or saving from

An extravagant holiday

Firm a financial backbone

To stay!

As hydro power

GRD  is due to feed

To the neighborhood,

The benefit to be derived

Is of national,regional

And global indeed!

GRD,one Ethiopians

That brought

GRD,one riparian countries

That brought

And timely the global

Community saw fit,

Is a plant

Lauded environment Smart!

GRD’s materialization

Is our Great expectation!

As Ethiopia holds

Lower riparian countries dear,

They have no reason

To entertain fear!

One thing has to be clear

To all far and near

If peacefully approached

Ethiopia makes a genuine friend!

(By Alem Hailu)

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GRD is of National,Regional and Global importance

 

Subject to a vicious cycle of drought for long, the agrarian state Ethiopia was heavily dependent on foreign aids to rescue the lives of its people some of which breathe their last before salivation arrives from some quarters. The country had no option than dependency syndrome.

Owing to this tragic phenomena, its untapped natural resources and best images notwithstanding, coining the country’s image with hunger and famine, lexicographers were using Ethiopia as a typical example to drought. Reportedly, abroad, pointing fingers at Ethiopians as famished people was not an uncommon thing.

Also for want of the right policy mix that lends impetus to its development,civil wars that assailed the country,lack of skilled personnel, lack of self confidence in indigenous capacity,the absence of sagacious leaders, lack of international donors who without taking sides extend help discerning facts on the ground, undeveloped financial muscle and opportune moment Ethiopia, lagging far behind, was a spectator of others’ development.

Now fed up with wallowing in the quagmire of poverty and knocking on the door of donor organizations,bracing up for turning itself round, this ancient country is striving to cruise its ship of development from a murky to a calm water.

During the past two decades the country was laying the groundwork that allows it a breakaway from a recipient of aid. It has put its foot down to ensuring its survival, like a creeper, winding itself on donors.

Modernizing the agriculture sector now the driving engine of the economy, multiplying over yields and ensuring food self sufficiency Ethiopia is bracing up to leapfrog to higher levels of industrialization. It hunger for hydro power that feeds electricity to the ever increasing number of industries in the country therefore goes without saying.

As is the case in other parts of the world the country is also experiencing a boom in population,another challenge for its food-self sufficiency and development. Hence allowing Blue Nile leave its mother land without rendering its service to it– generating hydro power– is no longer acceptable.

It is against this backdrop cognizant it has to put such trend behind it, openly discussing and mobilizing its people, building its financial muscle and indigenous capacity as well as giving room to mutual regional growth Ethiopia set out to build the Grand Renaissance Dam(GRD), the 3rd year anniversary of which is due and which is also 32 % through.

Ethiopian engineers and other experts deployed at the site are working round the clock to realize the hydro power plant that helps see off poverty from Ethiopia and create a launching pad for industrialization thereby heralding regional deliverance and clicking.

Here, in extirpating poverty, the mixing of the government and citizens like milk and water is worthy noting as it has a double message to friends and otherwise. It is this fact the committee comprising a cross section of the society and established to see to the actualization of the dam underscored last Friday.

Citizens as never before are backing up the GRD project with financial and labor assistance and expertise. The mass media is unfailingly carrying across developments on the GRD. Writers and artists are further mobilizing the public,encouraging the government to press ahead with its plan and portraying to the international community the true intent of the dam.

To bar the door for ambiguity or confusion that emanates from the misguided information the lower riparian countries harp on, the Addis AbabaUniversity has been conducting awareness deepening symposiums.

Reportedly in the sphere of diplomacy laudable achievements are being registered in Khartoum. Telling on concurrence of interest, even Egyptians are seen sponsoring similar cultural events jointly organized by Ethiopia and Sudan. At the end as it is scientific analysis that takes the upper hand over political rhetoric, to win the favor of our Egyptian brothers and to reverse the tide of the propaganda campaign of Egyptian politicians and less true experts such symposiums must be made a point. To out reach many a lot remains to be done in public diplomacy taking on board religious fathers among others.

Opposition party members here that were underplaying the GRD seeing the filling of the dam with concrete and its actualization are now asking the government to involve them in discussion forums.

Government employees turn by turn paying homage to the dam reaffirm support. The number of people buying bonds is also on the rise.

Military attaches from over 20 countries that paid homage to the dam this week following the visit the Ministry of defense facilitated to them had noted that the GRD Ethiopia is fighting to realize depicts that in a similar fashion harnessing their resources African countries could ensure their socioeconomic deliverance. They as well lauded Ethiopia’s achievement in this regard.

They said “Ethiopia has both the interest and capacity for mutual regional growth. The GRD project Ethiopia embarked on to carry out by itself to lift its people above the level of poverty and ensure its renaissance is worth crowing about.”

The attaches from neighboring countries expressed their countries interest to take lessons from Ethiopia’s experience of hydro power generation.

General Manager of the GRD Engineer Simegnew Bekele had told the attaches that “The GRD that meets international standards is environment smart as well.”He further noted the GRD that generates 6 thousand Mega Watts electricity, apart from generating hydro power that ensure regional integrity, will serve a giant research center.

Hence the GRD is of national,regional and global importance!” he assured the attaches.

To sum, as the benefit riparian countries reap and the return countries in the region gain are immense extending one’s due share to the project is not a task to be left for tomorrow.

Aside

Selected poems from ‘Blue Sister, River Vilija’ under the lens of Socialist Realism.

Socialist realism is an approach to literature that focuses on social issues and that portrays a ray of hope flickers from the debris of despondency .It promotes nationalism,patriotism, the equality of women as well as the beauty of the life ordinary people. It condemns scorn for labor,which it values. Socialist Realism, an approach to literature was developed by Russian communist critics and party ideologues around 1930.It is an offshoot of Marxism. In the previous editions we hand seen the works of Salomeja Neris via the lens of New and Marxist critical approach. We had also analyzed some works from a feminist angle.

Before the storm

Around 1940 those countries in Europe, which foresaw Nazi Germany’s expansionist policy, were apprehensive of its lust for annexing neighboring countries out of its ill will of unfairly amassing fortune. To forewarn and to forearm her fellow countrymen that the Nazis could take Lithuania off guard Salomeja in her poem “Before The Storm” had sensitized them of the specter of war looming large and threatening to explode at any time. In her prophetic poem she hinted the anxiety and fear of those who foresaw the impending danger.

Using horror provoking figurative speeches that summon to mind the possible catastrophe was the literary style she employed to use. And as such she did manage to vividly paint facts on the ground. For the sake of clarity some figurative expressions from the poem are spotlighted below.

Devilish, ghosts, white desperate, storm, blackens the sea and the giant’s great jaw.

Also see, tightly, heavily and silently. Notice also the verbs too are in the same wavelength strike, clenched, tensed, cries, breaks, caught .

Here she metaphorically refers her countrymen by seagulls contrasting them with soldiers of the belligerent nation.

The word images and expressions in the poem that reveal the then anxieties of Lithuania’s citizens, who sensed the blow the war has in store for them are:

In expectation one’s nerves are tensed, seagulls with cries cross the sky’s expanse, what will become of us when the rain breaks. Ship caught out of sea by chance, show merchants or commuters caught.

Stones have hearts of stone

Marxists and Socialists fight injustices of every making. Their aim as Gorky puts it is to render this world a suitable home for mankind. And as such they hold there is no room for appeasing the aggression a powerful and belligerent nation launches on the relatively weak yet peaceful one. Appeasing aggression is no less than perpetrating it. The poem Stones have hearts of stone epitomizes the wrath and revulsion of a poet to such ‘crime by inaction’ on the part of the international community. It was out of this feeling why Salomeja in her satiric poem ‘Stones have hearts of stone’ condemned the moral petrifaction of those nations that turned a blind eye when Nazi Germany flexing its military muscle was crushing and annexing neighboring countries.

The metaphoric expression ‘Stone’ she adopted to associate it with those who had the heart to tolerate aggression reveals how indignant she turned over the international community that could have rescued helpless countries like Lithuania from Nazi’s obsession of expansion but preferred abstinence.

Let us scrutinize some of the images used to such effect. Boulder means a small rounded mass of rock. At the first line of the first stanza of this poem Salomeja used Boulder to convey the eccentricity and hardheartedness of those who appeased aggression. ‘Boulder split apart and let me in’ shows Lithuania was in dire need of a salivation. In this poem the persona signifies Lithuania. Boulder and stone from the same semantic set are repetitively used eleven times to draw prominence and attention by way of emphasis. This poem satirizes moral petrifaction such as appeasing aggression. The title itself hammers home the same message.

The repitition of Stones are stones-they all have hearts of stone twice in her poem shows it was via this figurative expression Salomeja gave a vent to her wrath over the moral petrifaction of the international community. She also portrayed the helpless position Lithuania postured on the eve of the war. The following figurative speeches throw additional light on this fact.

The storm will chill me to the bone (2 times)

In this extract storm stands for the unprovoked aggression while chill me means annihilate me. The extract below suggests Lithuania at that time was fast approaching its destruction.

Crane-like, towards Autumn fly my days

Clamoring, away from me they fly

Days, my days, like wheat you once stood high

But today an empty field am I

It is not the birch that bends me but woe

Even if Lithuania at that time sought for assistance her plea felled on deaf ear till Soviet embraced her. It is this tragedy Salomeja portrayed in her poem

Stones are deaf though to another woe

Like a beggar I will go, with shoulder stooped

Yet I stand before you, bending low

See also the monologue below shows Lithuania’s helplessness and hence melancholic mood.

Who will understand Autumnal me-’

The figurative speech autumnal me also shows the deplorable situation of the persona (Lithuania).The extract all have hearts of stone shows the persona is condemning the international community.

At this juncture it is important to draw attention to Salomeja’s poem Mother where are you? Salomeja shows Soviet rendered a helping hand to Lithuania, when Lithuania was in dire need of one. According to Marxism the oppressed shouldn’t fight with the oppressed of another nation, rather avoiding narrow nationalism, they should close ranks to foil aggression.

Trees along the roadways marvel

What can all this mean?

Bright as bonfires, crimson neckties

On children gleam

And the eyes of children glitter

With-unheard -of glee,

Soviet Lithuania

This days greets joyfully.

Child of war

Posterity should sustain the valor and heroic deeds the preceding generation demonstrated in foiling aggression and ensuring freedom and the territorial integrity of a motherland. Socialist Realists also hold the same view. Salomeja in this poem depicts the obligation of succeeding generations to take into account the shuddering fact that even children not fortunate enough to play their share as their age mates in the other parts of the world did march to the battlefield and fought tooth and nail to defend their country. Succeeding generationsborn after the reversal of aggression, and after peace and freedom reigned supreme may have no inkling to the price the generation prior to them paid bathing in the river of blood to spare their country the ill effects of colonization.

The poem ‘Child Of War’ shows the rifle that served in spelling death to aggressors should be kept as a heritage and exhibited to succeeding generations born under a luckier star. The metaphor Salomeja here used to describe children who march to war is little eagles.

O child of war, preserve your weapons

For future days let it stay,

For they will come and ask their question

What was the world like in our day?

This poem also exposes the debased nature of Nazi Germany, who was inured to the shameful act of fighting with a nation that has no alternative than sending the fledgling and feeble alike to war. Nazi Germany was doing that out of the ill will of subjugating others and plundering (looting) their resources. The extract below exemplifies how hard the war the combatant children faced was.

For them, born under stars more lucky,

It will be hard to understand

How hard the sky have exploded

While battle raged on sea and land?

How, flowing black with blood, could rivers

Rocks bridges bombs had battered down.

They’ll never see it-as you never

Saw sunshine in the world around.

Preserve your weapon, little eagle

Of many battles it will tell

Of days ferocious and heroic

For grandsons to remember well.

Brother Falcons

This poem by Salomeja aims at emboldening her fellow countrymen to get up, stand up and reverse aggression. In short it provokes a sense of patriotism in line with Socialist Realism. It as well pledges an all out support for patriots. Moreover it hints patriots are scarifying themselves defiant of aggression. It is to be recalled that Lithuania was occupied by Nazi Germany from1940 to 1945.In brother falcons the technique Salomeja brought into play is to use different metaphors borrowed from nature and to ironically convey the encroachment upon Lithuania by aggressors via the infestation of Lithuania by poisonous and prickly weeds. Autumn here is used as a symbol of war. Observe figurative expression autumn has donned its golden Armour. Such thing occurs when the sun is distant or covered with cloud. The extract autumn with heather stride further strengthens the symbol as heather has the denotative meaning of an outlaw, which could suggest an aggression. The metaphoric expressions, she employed to show the invasion of Luthania by Nazi Germany, is manifest in the following extracts Autumn, wolves, burdocks (Weeds), align winds from the west.

It is necessary here to appreciate how Salomeja with picturesque imageries superbly contrasted patriots with enemies. Special appreciation goes to the figures of association she created relating Oak trees(shades) and falcons(prey birds) with marchers grown-ups and young children respectively. Once more notice that the two metaphors are borrowed from the flora of Lithuania.

Autumn has donned its golden armor, Autumn with heater stride, Align winds from the west are blowing, Align winds from the west are raging, Enemies plunder the earth I cherish, Cranes fill the sky with strident clamor, Burdock flourish, My path by wolves was trodden

This poem, as a drumbeat, summons and emboldens youngsters and combatants to salvage their country and rescue their countrymen.

Where are you brother falcons

Where are you hero braves?

Don army coats! Make haste

And tighten the belt at your waist

To indicate that the society will stand by the sides of marchers dispersed in every which direction to defend their country, the persona pledges her support and indicates she never falters from thinking about them.

Brothers my brother falcons

Oak-trees, my forest Oak-trees

Forked are your roads like branches

Sister will seek her brothers.

Blue Sister, River Vilija

One of the principles of Socialist Realism pertaining to patriotism is if one faces defeat or a tie in a battlefield one has to admit the temporary defeat and brace up for future confrontation assessing factors responsible for the failure.

We battled hard and long-bloodstained

We come back from the field.

In water pure our wounds we’ll bath

And with green silk we’ll bandage them.

In ‘Blue Sister, River Vilija’ apart imparting the motto of patriotism, Salomeja had capitalized a love for the motherland and freedom comes next to none. She stressed even the instinct for ensuring or sustaining life comes nowhere near maintaining freedom. River is usually taken as a symbol for the movement of people of a given nation,

in this poem Salomeja had metaphorically used three major rivers in Lithuania namely,

Vilnele, Vilija and Nieman, as a means of getting across her message to the people via a word of mouth.

Vilnele, run to Vilija!

And, Vilija, to Nieman’s shore!

Convey this message: ‘We love life

But love our country even more—

Blue Sister, River Vilija

Make haste, make haste to Niemen’s shore!

Convey this message: ‘ We love life

But freedom we love even more’

Saluting heroes and lauding patriotism is also among the principles of Socialist Realism.

See the following verses are coded to this end.

And, should you ask the stones what sort

Of men we are, they will with one breath

Shall say how valiantly we fought

Our foes whose eyes were closed by death.

Salomeja rendered this poem aesthetic effect using inversion, repetition and enumeration. Such superb aesthetic effect, grabbing attention, helps to ram home the message, people of a nation should put as their top most agenda ensuring freedom and the sovereignty of the nation.

The Nazi Tanks will Never pass

True to the principles of Socialist Realism here Salomeja underlines the need to defend in unison the sovereignty of one’s country and pass down to posterity a country, as the one bequeathed from forefathers, whose sovereignty is unblemished by the dark spot of colonization. This is a typical poem that promotes patriotism. Salomeja pened this poem to embolden her countrymen to palisade their country with their bones and bar every advance of Nazi Germany.

Like one man,stand all our soldiers

Like a warrior iron clad

  • – –

All alert we stand and listen

All the steppe our keen eyes sweep

On the roads appears a dust- cloud

May be, tanks towards us creep

Fire, we clasp ignition-bottles

Hand-grenades lie near at hand

Far behind us stretch the steppe lands

Quite, spreads our native land.

In our hands, the hands of soldiers,

Lies the fate of mother earth,

All our grandfathers bequeathed us,

Kept for us until our birth.

On its guard we stand this morning

Heady smell the earth emits

Nazi Thanks will not break past us

They will be blown to bits.

Sing my heart

It is not the intent of Critical Realism to consciously transform the people. It affords victims of injustice the luxury of self-pity that swings a room for pessimism. But Socialist Realism accesses the past and present and conjures up in the mind of the victimized a rosy future that strikes shoots via bitter struggle. It is in line with the set objective of Socialist RealistsSing my heart ’stresses inexorable fight and hopefulness. See the underlined words in the poem reveal the intention of the poet– a call for inexorable fight and hopefulness.

  • – –

Sing, my heart, sing without pause,

Of life, and the sun, and the sky,

Of the warm caress, of the sandy path,

And of clouds adrift on high.

Sing with abandon, sing without care,

Sing as your heart demands;

Learn from the swallow dipping in the air’

From the little leaves clapping their hands.

And among your paeons, sing a lament

For your country, widowed by war,

Enwrapped in mourning veils of smoke,

And weeping upon the shore.

May the song you sing arrest the moan

Of the steppe, where the wild wind runs;

May the song on the lips of marching men

Silence the roar of the guns.

May the flames devouring innocent homes

Be quenched in a flood of tears,

As in your dry, your tearless eye,

The light of wrath appears.

– – –

Sing, remembering your dreams

For their dear sakes you must-

If once you pause, your dreams will fall

And be trampled in the dust.

Starfall

Though the devastating nature of the blow a war deals a country locked in an unprovoked aggression is unquestionable, it is mothers that usually got smote by profound grief, and mourn their children on top of their husbands to say nothing about their brothers and fellow countrymen. The grief becomes all the more entrenched, especially if young children, probably who just stopped breastfeeding, (fledgling), turn victims of blatant aggression.

It is this tragic scenario she witnessed in her time Salomeja painted with darker hues in her poem Starsfall. Her poems ‘What would mother have said?’ and ‘Mother where are you?’ are in the same wavelength

The technique the poet here used is a monologue between a mother and a child. The unfamiliar thing here is the response the dead child gives to his mother’s question. The child assures his mother others in their footsteps taking their rifles will defend Lithuania.

Star fall

The star keep falling, ever falling,

Cold autumn stars pour from the skies.

And mournful, hoary-haired a mother cries.

Where is my son?” she weeps, bent

earthwards.

The dead, like little boys, feel cold.

Her living glance, the sky reflecting,

Scans the dead eyes with grief untold.

She finds his eyes, his brow she kisses:

Arise my son attend to me!”

She beats and sorrows like a seagull

Who, who will set our country free?”

Let tempest rage and rave and rave around us,

Autumn its bloody harvest reap.

I will arise, my darling Mother

And set our native country free!”

Let us turn our attention to indegenious poems

An indigenous poem under the lens of Marxist Criticism

Yekeremt Magedoch ( Splinters of wood of winter)

Below is given the paraphrased version of the poem ‘Yekeremt Magedoch’ by Debebe Seifu taken from his book.

Like a damp twig, fighting with water, annihilating water, conceiving fire, we delivered fire. A fire, chocked and blinded by smoke we thus afforded peasants have boiled wheat and the working class a warm soup. Thus if we managed to illumine the hovels of the poor with a dimly flickering light let history then chant our songs and posterity commemorate the twists and turns we experienced and the dreary life we lead for the sake of the oppressed.”

¾¡[Uƒ TÑÊ‹

Ç=I }Ýßcƒ

Ç=I }Ú“wc”

¨<G ”ÇK²²”

¨<G” ›g”ð”

dƒ” ì”c”

dƒ” ›UÖ” …›UÖ”…›UÖ”

dƒ”U ¨MÅ”

dƒ”U G<’”

/¾¡`Uƒ TÑÊ‹/

“ÚKÚM”Kƒ ¾ÉG¨<” ÔÐ kX ŸM ß^a

“ucM”Kƒ ²”É ¾›`f ›Å\” ”õa

¾c`„ ›Å\” Q´w Kce ÁK ia

]¡ òU[¨< ¾—” ”Ñ<`Ñ<a::

²S” ÃSe¡[¨< ¾—” ¨<ר<[É

¾”ÓMƒ ’<a::

The progressive members of a society, on the behalf of the oppressed pay selfless sacrifices on the altar of liberation. Gutted down to ashes by fire, splinters (fire woods) serve to cook the foods people eat. Sometimes the splinters get soaked, may be by rain. First the fire has to strike out the water before the splinters glow red. But in the mean time the cooks get chocked and blinded by the smoke, which forces them to continuously blink as well .It is with a brilliant metaphor creating analogy between the progressive members of a society, who sacrifices themselves to liberate the oppressed, with the gutting down of a firewood (splinters) to ashes serving a source of energy for cooking and illumining the dark. Debebe Seifu in his poem ‘Yekremt Magedoch’ demonstrated literature could be unleashed in supporting the oppressed class and exposing the exploitation of the majority in line with Marxist Criticism. He has managed to show boiled wheat and a warm soup are humble foods. Debebe in this poem shows the income of the peasant and the working class is so meager that it can’t afford them even to have these humble foods. He thus exposed the expropriation of peasants and the proletariat by their expropriators. He further showed the progressive members of a society should inexorably fight to see to the catering of bare necessities to peasants and the proletariat. It as well is in line with Socialist Realist’s theory of Klassovost.

A hero who did what every one dreams

to make the best of one’s self

The hero lived short, yet enormous

Showing what it means to be living

Shining out the flame of his heart

Reveling the power of love

Enjoying miracles of faith

The hero died, buried in hearts

To make more heroes, to wake sprits

The hero died to live longer.

The zigzag in line construction she used on the first stanza shows the persona lived alacritous to the dictates of his wish.///

The End

Ribbon of the Heart–(ecriture feminine)

 

By Alem Hailu

As I promised to shift focus from the New Criticism to Feminist Criticism, here I have come up with one work. But first to get on the same page let us see the theoretical aspect from ‘Literary Criticism Today’ By Lois Tyson

Literature Review

In the broadest sense feminist criticism examines the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) underpin or undermine the economic, political, social and psychological subjugation of women. Some feminists call their field feminism in order to underline the multiplicity of points of view of its advocates and offer ways of thinking that oppose the traditional tendency to believe there is a single best point of view.

Yet many of us who are new to the study of feminist theory, both male and female, have decide ahead of time that we are not feminist because we don’t share whatever feminist point of view we have found the most objectionable. In other words even before to the theory classroom…. on that basis, we have rejected it. This attitude reveals, I think, the oversimplified, negative view of feminism that still persists …for it is from the culture at large—the home the workplace, the media, and so on—that we have gathered the anti-feminist bias we bring into the classroom.”(Tyson:1999)

To see how this negative oversimplification works to blind us to the seriousness of the issue feminism raise, let us see one of the most criticized feminist claims “We shouldn’t use the masculine pronoun ‘he’ to represent both men and women. We can use s/he,she/he or the plural pronoun ‘they’ .Many people see this claim as trivial or even infantile, nature of feminist demands. For many feminists, however, the use of the pronoun ‘he’ to refer to members of both sexes reflects and perpetuates a ‘habit of seeing’ as way of looking life,that uses male experience as the standard by which the experience of both sex is evaluated. In other words, although the “inclusive he” claims to represent both men and women, in reality it is part of a deeply-rooted cultural attitude that ignores women’s experiences and blinds us to women’s point of view. The damaging effect of all this attitude could be seen in a number of areas.

For example, before the centuries- old struggle for women’s equality finally emerged in literary studies in the late’s 1960s,the literary works of(White) male authors describing experience from a (white) male point of view was considered the standard of universality—that is, representatives of all the experiences of all readers—and universality was considered a major criterion of greatness .Because the works of(white) female authors(and all authors of color) don’t describe experience from a(white) male point of view, they were not considered universal and didn’t become part of the literary canon. Opposing this trend is referred firing the canon.

It is interesting to note that popularity was not necessarily considered evidence of universality, for many women writers who enjoyed widespread fame during their lives were not canonized in literary histories, which focused primarily on male writers. Of course those holding up this standard of greatness didn’t believe they were being unfairly discriminatory, they simply believed that they were rejecting literary texts that were not universal, that were not great.

Even today there is a tendency to under represent the contribution of women writers.

Similarly in most Hollywood films, even today, the camera eye (the point of view from which the film is shot) is male the female character not the male, are the objects gazed upon by the camera and often eroticized as if a male eye were viewing them, as if the point of view of the ‘universal’ movie- goer were male .

Perhaps the most chilling example of the damaging effect of this ‘habit of seeing’ is found in modern medicine where drugs prescribed for both often have been tested on male subjects only. Surely, the cultural habit of seeing male experience as universal played a role. Traditional gender roles cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive, they cast women as emotional (irrational),weak,nurturing,and submissive.’’ (Tyson:1999)

Tyson further notes if a woman accepts her traditional gender role and obeys the patriarchal rule she is a ‘good girl!’ if she doesn’t, she is a ‘bad girl’ these two roles view women only in terms of how they relate to the patriarchal order. Patriarchal ideology works to keep women and men in traditional gender roles and thereby maintain male dominance. In every domain where patriarchy reigns, woman is other, she is marginalized, defined only by her difference from male norms and values, which means defined by what she (allegedly) lacks that men(allegedly)have.

While biology determines our sex (male or female) culture determines our gender (masculine or feminine).In fact, all the traits we associate with masculine and feminine behavior are learned, not inborn. All feminist activity, including feminist theory and literary criticism, has as its ultimate goal to change the world by promoting gender equality.

Gender issues play a part in every aspect of human production and experience, including the production and experience of literature, whether we are consciously aware of the issue or not. Of course, the assumption listed above are related overlapping ideas, and, together, they imply that patriarchal ideology has a pervasive ,deeply rooted influence on the way we think ,speak, see ourselves and view the world in which we live.

Let us see some questions Feminist Critics ask about Literary texts

Tyson Summarizes the questions as follows what does the work reveal about the operation (economically, politically, socially or psychologically)of patriarchy? How are women portrayed? How do these portrayals relate to the gender issue of the period in which the literary piece was written or set? In other words does the work reinforce or undermine patriarchal ideology. In the first case we might say the text has a patriarchal agenda. In the second case we might say that the text has a feminist agenda. Texts that seem to both reinforce and undermine patriarchal ideology might be said to be ideologically conflicted.

What does the work imply about sisterhood as a mode of resisting patriarchy? What does the work suggest about the ways in which race, class and/or other cultural factors intersect in gender in reproducing women’s experience. What does the work suggest about women’s creativity? In order to answer this question, biographical data about the author and historical data about the culture in which she lived is required.

What might an examination of the author’s style contribute to the ongoing effort to delineate a specifically feminine form of writing (ecriture feminine)?

What does the history of the work’s reception by the public and by the critics tell us about the operation of patriarchy? Has the literary work been ignored or neglected in the past? Why? Or, if recognized in the past, is the work ignored or neglected now. What role does the work play in terms of women literary history and literary tradition.

In the patriarchal mode of thinking women are expected to strictly observe duties and responsibilities while men enjoy an ample latitude of freedom. And as such in literary works authors often punish women that goes astray leaving the man that erred scout free. For instance in Tolstoy’s masterpiece ‘Anna Karenina’ take the protagonist Anna and her brother. Though both proved guilty of extra marital affair it was only Anna that suffered the punitive measure of the author.

Works done by men author were considered as the standard ones having a universal significance and as such women’s works despite their popularity and merit were not given due attention.

Analysis

Now much said about the fundamentals of feminist criticism, let us see ‘The Ribbon of the Heart’, a book bearing 27 English poems. It is co-authored by Lulit Kebede and Wessen Mulatu in 2004 G.C. As the book,among others, lends itself well to Feminist literary criticism let us see it via this lens.

In the poem ‘He’ (P8) Wessen draws attention to the irresponsible act of narcissist men that drown themselves in liquor at the cost of harm to their wives and family members. Aside from the financial loss the family incurs the wives,forced to sit idle past midnight and open door for their topper husbands, suffer psychological crisis. Sadly such men are condoned by the society. From this poem one could learn the economical and psychological oppression women suffer. Imagine what will happen had the husband and wife exchanged position–if she takes the night out at bars while he waits for her home. Ridiculing such bent of irresponsible men Wessen undermines the patriarchal ideology. See the extract below

//He has been drinking all night

With the so- called friends

Who wouldn’t turn their back

Till he runs out of buck

An addict

To alcohol and cigarette

Fan

To every women

In the famous bar

What would you like to drink Sir?”

Asked the bartender

Poured him a glass of whiskey

And turned on the melody

……………………….

Not sure of his horrifying life

Not sure of his demanding wife //

In her poem ‘I’ (P18) Lulit strengthens the issue Wessen raised above exposing the culture imposed slavish obedience expected from wives. Laying bare such tendency emasculates women’s self expression, she attacks the patriarchal order. Let us see some extracts.

//Am I my shadow

Am I your shadow

Am I your disciple

Taking your word as a bible

Doubting myself,nor reliable

………………..

I know my inside cries out loud

Waiting to be heard

Eager to reveal the unrevealed

…………..

But how do I know

While I’m busy ploughing your meadow //

It is a foregone conclusion that looking after off-springs is the responsibility of parents . Children also seek to grow up under the wings of their parents. Lulit’s poem ‘My Guardians’ (P28) drives this fact home. Let us see extracts

//I cry a smile of grace

When I feel your breath

….

I call you my angles

…….

Shield me to unseen the darkness//

But when unwanted pregnancies surface or financial crisis hit most of the time it turns the responsibility of women to look after children. In her poem ‘Humble Spirit’ (P12 ) Lulit paints a woman from the lower class on whose lot such a tragedy has fallen. Let have a look at excerpts from the poem.

//The woman

Begging

To win her daily bread

Shaking from the unbearable cold

Crying out loud

Silemariam” “Silemariam”

(In the name of Holy Virgin)

The child

Being abandoned

Hopless,born cursed

Emama erabegn”

(I am hungry MaMa)

Eraten tayilign”

(My dinner please)//

In this poem true to the feminist agenda of sisterhood the persona in the poem smote by pity and lamenting her inability to be of much help shoves a coin into the destitute mother begging for alms saddled with the responsibility of feeding two mouths.

I

….

Shoving a penny reluctantly

Lulit had crafted another poem ‘Mother to a Child ‘ (P22) on the tenderness of women! In this poem she shows how caring the fair-sex are to children. It throws light how it feels like being a mother.

//The sight of your little face

Covered in blanket,avoiding the haze

Rhythm from your smooth breath

Swallowed in the pillow of faith

The beat of your heart

Drumming with mine but apart

………………

Kept me alive

…………….

Makes me dive

In the bed of life

Protecting you from the cold which cuts like knife

……………….

The smile,the laughter,the funny noise we share

Leaves me with bliss knowing that I care //

Financial hurdles and the responsibility of looking after their subjects –children– are the factors that push women to do things against their interest. And as such they get exposed to works hazardous to their health or well-being such as commercial sex work. In her poem ‘Proud Ethiopian’ (P36) Wossen spotlights this sad episode. Here is the extract

//But my women are spread on the streets

Selling beauty in dollars//

If economically empowered or assisted by their male counterpart such women are willing to extricate themselves from such twists of fate. Wessen’s poem ‘Tonight’ (P52) throws light on this fact. See the extract.

//Hope you’ll hold her tight

And tell her it’s alright

Hope you will kiss her cheeks

And solve her puzzles

………….

Hope you’ll stand by her side

And protect her from the cold

…….

Hope you will not abuse her beauty

And leave her for the hungry

Hope you’ll dry her tears fast

And make her forget the past.//

In the past,specially here in Ethiopia, it was not usual for women to express the romantic feelings they entertain towards the menfolk and as such readers used to enjoy romance packed poems crafted only from men’s point of view. Dramas were also staged as though women were the only objects of love or as if women were incapable of entertaining a feeling of love towards a member of the opposite sex. In her poem ‘In the Library'(P20) Lulit draws readers attention to such type of feelings– a girl who became subject to a sight love in the library. Though no women poet or author dared to bring it out to the glare of print, specially among university students, such a thing does no longer seems an uncommon phenomena.

//Sneaking eyes

Casting towards

Firm and strong hands

Tightly holding the books

……………

Ren-dez-vous with the eyes

…………….

Breaking the rules completely

Captured to the forsaken beauty

In front of me…//

In the same wavelength, Wessen, in her poem ‘The Game’ (P50), depicts a record moment of happiness and the joyful occasion of life.

//A blast

You wouldn’t want to last

A struggle

You have no control over

……….

Driving your mind with emotion

Driving your body with stimulation

……….

To the point of no return

Lulit’s poem ‘Tears of Happiness’ (P46) seems to carry across the same message. She hints on the eyeopener experience.

Breathless is the heart

………………

Letting her dance

While making an entrance

Soft is the touch

…….

Cold tears

……

Smile, a silent

From with in

From the heart

Making us see things from a woman’s point of view Lulit and Wessen have adopted a unique style of crafting poems –ecriture feminine.

Aside from upholding feminist agenda ‘Ribbon of the Heart’ exposes and attacks the patriarchal line of thinking. However Wessen’s poem ‘Woman’ (P60) that paints the fair-sex as exquisite creatures,though a superb literary piece, it seems a bit ideologically conflicted as it, at the closing lines, true to the patriarchal mode of thinking put women emotional(irrational) beings. Both authors,who were youngsters when the book was published in 2004G.C,are recovering patriarchal women as they, like many of us here, grew up taking the traditional gender role for-granted. Here it must be known unless feeling is suppressed by cultural programming men too could be emotional.

Similarly in her poem ‘Ms. Perfect’ (P24) Wessen paints a decent girl most sought after by men, looking for a spouse. Such a girl is a girl referred ‘the good girl’ in the patriarchal thinking.

//Hoping to get Ms. Perfect

He has gone through a lot

………

In big novels and movies

Do you question like him her very existence?

…….

To find the passionate

Gentle and who truly cares

Faithful now and always.//

Here the question worth raising is ‘Is it Mr. Wrong looking For Ms. Perfect?’

Likewise in her poem ‘New Generation'(P32) about a nationalist sentiment and the need for internal beauty Lulit on her part paints ‘the bad girl’

//Every heart melts

When she smiles

Snow white is her teeth

Lips like a red rose

With an alluring fragrance

From early spring fields

Silk is her hair

Galloping like a wild horse

Blowing over her dancing eyes

…..

With a mind so empty

………

Imitating alien personality

Forgetting her nationality

Abused they say

With no performed duty

Just a cover only pretty//

What about ‘bad boys’ that shedding off their national identity that imbibe the foreign ones. Such boys,like the girls that solely worry about their beauty, need be ridiculed too. To avoid ideological conflict Lulit and Wessen need have ridiculed moral decadence on the part of both sexs.

In her poem ‘New Generation’, promoting the feminist agenda, Lulit underscores women’s role in changing the universe through creativity. See the extract below.

//Where is she to share her difference

To change the universe

To make it a better place?//

In her poem the ‘Truth’ (P54) Wessen amplifies the need for women’s (hers) creativity. Here the point she drives home is God has endowed the woman folk with brain and tapping it they have to come up with something worth while– a literary product like ‘Ribbon of the Heart’.

//’What is your share to the world?’

…….

I jumped

I cried

I looked everywhere

And found the treasure

Hidden in my mind

Ready to explode

A truth

A talent

A script

Marked with a special ink.//

Its is from this sentiment the book derived its title.See the poem ‘Ribbon of the Heart’

//Ribbon of the heart

Unwrapped

Pouring out

thought

Full of wisdom

in freedom//

The book is a literary work that challenges patriarch, deeply entrenched in the mentality of citizens and that still perpetuates the wrong sentiment intentionally or otherwise.

True to their claim at the back of the book, Lulit and Wessen have proved ‘Birds out of cage!

Appreciation is due to these birds. Is it out of patriarchal mode of thinking the book has not enjoyed the attention it deserves or is it because it is written in English? We expect the poets poem or article contribution to the art and culture column of the Ethiopian Herald

Once I remember seeing poems by women poets across the globe compiled in a book, sponsored by proponents of feminist. I felt terrible for no Ethiopian poet was represented. Lulit and Wessen as well as some other women poets who have a good command of the English language and whom I will introduce in the future will hopefully be our ambassadors. Translating the poem of women poets(with no less attention to the male ones) must be made a point too.

This much said about the feminist aspect I would like to throw light on the theme of some of the poems in ribbon of the heart: Love that transcends skin color,people with double face,people who nag others till they meet their ends, complacent reliving the glorious past and being a nationalist bombast despite the demanding situation in Ethiopia today as well as the beauty of the life of citizens that lead an original life style in far of beyond among others. After treating additional books or poems in feminist or new criticism way I will shift focus toMarxist critical approach in my next works.

Suffering purifies the soul

Image

Book Review :By Alem Hailu

Book :Reflections

Gener:Poetry

1Edition Jan 2014

Author Roman Tewelde-Berhan

 

 

A chaste heart of a lass may get broken by a fickle lad, who to lure doves into traps, projects one of the charming faces he puts in store for ready use.

Unable to make a love partner well-willed or well-fulfilled jumping from this to other he will keep on stabbing and bleeding as many hearts as possible . Such a narcissist lad seems immune to the pangs of conscious and inure to the mess he creates here and there.

As the saying goes suffering purifies the soul, though a gruesome experience the breaking of a chaste heart renders the victim spiritually strong.

Obviously the-object- of- anguish turned narcissist grows dull by the day and keeps on breaking as many hearts as possible.

The world we live in is not short of troubles. That is why stories(dramas) having tragic endings enjoy wider acceptance for they allow many to project themselves and partake in the literary piece. For instance take Shakespeare’s drama Othello.

Literary pieces penned in whatever genres by authors who tasted the bitterness of ill treatment to the full could enjoy wider readership for they know tragedy first hand.

Harrowing experiences make wronged persons acquire emotional maturity. They as well make the unfortunate person delve into the mysteries of nature,to champion justice, denounce conceit and ardently seek God the Almighty for salivation.

The aforementioned facts are what I figured out when I read a book entitled ‘Reflection’ launched two weeks back at Ethiopia Hotel. This debut collection of 45 poems was authored by Roman Tewolde-Berhan. The interior of the pages are adorned with magnificent photos by Thomas Lemma. In the book Roman’s thoughts and feelings are portrayed by her poems while Thoma’s vision by his photos.

The poems are the objects of focus in this book review of mine,for that is my domain.

The book also bears poems written by a female in the first person singular ‘i’.

Some schools in literary criticism say it is possible to figure out the authors intention from his writings while other schools argue otherwise. Focusing my attention solely on the ‘Reflection’ which seems to have a recurrent theme, an immaculate yet a broken heart and piecing together excerpts I have come up with the following picture about the persona,though not necessarily about the author.

The poem ‘If i could’ (page 18) shows the intensity of the love the persona entertains towards a lad. An excerpt from this poem reads as follows

/ If i could

i’d be the cloud

above your head

If i could

i’d be the earth you tread

– – – –

When these,i can’t

i remain content

i’ve got you in my heart /

Special moments spent with a cherished love partner remains sealed in memory. Every single thing the road ,a special tree,a sunset or the moon retrieve or occasion remembrances. See the poem ‘The Walk’ (page 11)

/When the day’s almost out

when it’s neither dark

nor day light

– – –

but when none can recognize

the two of us,from a distance

– – –

When we meet

neither of us speak

we hold hands,tight

to take a gentle walk

along our neighborhood street/

The poem that give an animate quality to an inanimate being ‘Howling wind'(page 6) has lines and stanzas that corroborates feelings of being expectant of a news about a sought after person.

/howling wind of the night.

– – –

Do you carry the scent

of my sweet love?

If so,please be fragrant

and let me smell

– – –

Or else,make your passage

Like you,invisible,/

Just like most of us who grew up imbibing fairy tales, the persona was painting love with bright hues. Till wronged she was of the opinion “Love is hundred per cent enduring” See the extract below from ‘Marriage’ (page 46)

/ In my adolescence

the age of innocence

i had a fantasy

i was going to marry

my shining armour

and we’d live happily

forever after

He’d be my prince charming

just like in the fairy tale/

Let us add extracts in the same wave length from the poem ‘Just the Kind’

( page 25)

/My big book says

love is patient,love is kind

I’ve come to know

just the kind

The kind wherein

his thoughts and mine

—intertwine/

But at times things could prove otherwise. The persona seemed to realize such turn of events when her object of love cheated on her. She mentally challenges him to come clean or confess the engagement of his attention elsewhere.

Referring the poem ‘Wanting More’ (page 31) readers could sense the persona’s rude awakening.

/ You chose to disappear

without saying a word

leaving her to linger

When you could have said

you’ve met another

or with a sweet cover

it’s come to an end

still better…the naked truth

you don’t love her enough./

As a shock treatment, experiencing the unexpected the persona seems to realize love could be not enduring.

/ Nothing lasts forever

she’s not that naive

dear,my dear

she was only in love/

Then she poses a question to the fickle lover whether the love he tries to get from the new partner is a genuine one like she and he used to exchange. Excerpts from the poem ‘What you find’ (page 38) throws light on this fact.

/Please, tell me this

by just looking into your eyes

without you saying a word

does she really understand

What you want express

Does she really know you

like i used to?/

In the poem ‘Yet to be said’ (page 52) the persona shows she has not yet relinquished her love for the lad that stole her heart and ran away. She shows her desire to relive shared and enjoyed moments.

/How i wish to articulate

to re-create

what i dreamt

of how i felt

In your embrace

gentle and tight

of your kiss

divinely sweet

of how you held my soul

in your spirit./

See the poem in stanza 5 of the poem ‘Fate’ (page 28) is in the same wave length.

Evidently on the poem ‘The thought of you’ (page 41) after deserted by her lover the persona’s longings for him gathers momentum. Evidently the breaching of promise by a love partner is bitter,for it is tantamount to stabbing on the back. Psychologists that do research on surviving infidelity note such betrayals could create on the cheated person feelings deadly than death. To evade this gruesome pain the persona wishes to be insulated from it or to be above it. Let us see excerpts from ‘Super being'(page 4)

The feeling of . . .

And that of distress

despair and sadness

that seems to breaking

untouched innocence

– – –

Sometimes i wish

to be sub-human,to not feelings

– – – or even . . . better still

to be a super being

without any feeling

Another poem ‘Recollection’ (page24,specially 5,6&7 stanza) is charged with the same sentiment.

Though many agree a resort to venting one’s feelings through jotting poems placates irksome feelings , the following excerpts hints confiding her desire to her pen or writing a poem couldn’t prove that much help to the persona.

/No matter what i write

futile is my attempt

as feelings indescribable

feelings infinite

remain buried

yet to be said/

The poem ‘Unease’ (page 8) shows the persona’s quest for the repose of her soul. She seems pining for death so as to be in the bosom of God the almighty. Almost in many of the poems we trace the words death,corpse,rotten flesh,war and the like. These words show the persona’s feelings of rancor.

/ Often like a gush of a water fall

or like a stream in constant trickle

something stirs in my core

– – –

Oh,let it spill,let it stir

it won’t be forever

it will vanish

and come to an end

with my rotten flesh

when i am dead

or as is my wish

my soul,now unsettled

will peacefully reside

with my loving God/

The expressions ending my body’s toil(page 59) and if i were meant to die in a car accident(page 28) are samples in the same wave length.

A large number of the photos in the book shows sunset—a setting sun being enveloped by darkness. “Are these photos, like the resentment charged poems, unconsciously depicting the overlapping of a love not relinquished and a betrayal by a lover? Or some grief?” is the question that crosses the mind of a person that peruses the book ‘Reflection’

Also the persona in some of her poems relate the grief that smote her upon losing a child. Adding her burden such tragedy could make her see life with the lens of pesmissm. See the poem ‘My dream by Yeats’ (page 19)

/ i’d been waiting,wanting

i’d been desperately looking

for you… … .. for so long

when i wasn’t ready

yet,i wanted you to be

you came to me,my baby

But…chose not to stay

you slipped away

like grains of sand

out of my hand

leaving me empty/

The poem ‘Leona'(page 56) seems in the same wavelength.

In crafting ‘My dream by Yeats’ the poet has brought into play allusion one of the poetic devices famous poets are adept in applying. Her first poem ‘The word ‘ shows the author’s pen that started dripping a drop has now made a river of poems. This poem alludes to the biblical verse “at the beginning there was a word!”

When it comes to style Roman’s poems are melodic as they frequently rhyme. This quality renders her poems the flavor of Ethiopian poems.

Oxymoron — like ‘deafening silence’ (page 56) and ‘Deafeningly faint’ (page 17)– is another poetic device via which she lends color to her poems. Irony like finding solace in solitude (page 23) and paradox like finding relief in grief (page 22) are the poetic devices Roman displayed her talents with.

The dialogue she used to conjure in our mind about the day of judgment and retribution in her poem ‘Stranger in the Night’ (page 12) is superb. It tells about The author’s creative gift. Also in the poem ‘The fight’ last line page 30 ,the semantic oddity she used “so that me and I don’t fight”shows her verve in defamilarization, a literary device for aesthetic effect.

About Marriage (page 46) the persona is not fully pessimist she rather proves she is a realist optimist see the extract

– – –

/Then again,it’s not all gloomy

there are those in matrimony

who are forever happy

with the passion of love

still blazing alive/

– – –

From her poem ‘Self importance’, understandably, it is revolted by the colossal pomposity of some, the persona opted to use the first person pronoun I in its smaller form ‘i’ for humbling oneself. Her poems are not left aligned and don’t start with capital letters,a style in post modernism.

The binary opposition evident in most of her poems are life/death, faithfulness/deceit, an everlasting love(marriage)/A short-lived love (marriage)

In a prowess of a creative talent,in her future work we expect Roman to use additional poetic devices like inversions.,enumeration and the like.

The poet has brought into good effect parallelism and repetition on the poems ‘If i could’ (page 18) on ‘What if’ (page 49).

Her poem ‘if i were a cat'(page 21) is amusing. Her poem ‘Worlds apart’ the ingratitude of the haves and the gratefulness of the have not is paradoxical. The poem ‘Power of thought'(page 21) that shows man’s power of thinking sets him apart from animal at the same time makes him brutal is also paradoxical as many.

The poem ‘Precious'(page 14) that shows a majestic and fledgling bird observing her environment to learn the survival of the fittest shows the poet’s power of observation. The poet has also touched the delicate subject of HIV and stigmatization. Though a mulatto and torn between Ethiopia and United Kingdom the poet tells us she has a great love to Ethiopia where she grew up.See ‘My Ethiopia’ page 32.

Read forgiveness and other poems for yourself.

My hat is flown for the poet. For mood up liftment and style I personally recommend her to read poems by Helen Stiner Rice, called an ambassador of sunshine.

//

Suffering purifies the soul

 

Book Review :By Alem Hailu

Book :Reflections

Gener:Poetry

1Edition Jan 2014

Author Roman Tewelde-Berhan

 

 

A chaste heart of a lass may get broken by a fickle lad, who to lure doves into traps, projects one of the charming faces he puts in store for ready use.

Unable to make a love partner well-willed or well-fulfilled jumping from this to other he will keep on stabbing and bleeding as many hearts as possible . Such a narcissist lad seems immune to the pangs of conscious and inure to the mess he creates here and there.

As the saying goes suffering purifies the soul, though a gruesome experience the breaking of a chaste heart renders the victim spiritually strong.

Obviously the-object- of- anguish turned narcissist grows dull by the day and keeps on breaking as many hearts as possible.

The world we live in is not short of troubles. That is why stories(dramas) having tragic endings enjoy wider acceptance for they allow many to project themselves and partake in the literary piece. For instance take Shakespeare’s drama Othello.

Literary pieces penned in whatever genres by authors who tasted the bitterness of ill treatment to the full could enjoy wider readership for they know tragedy first hand.

Harrowing experiences make wronged persons acquire emotional maturity. They as well make the unfortunate person delve into the mysteries of nature,to champion justice, denounce conceit and ardently seek God the Almighty for salivation.

The aforementioned facts are what I figured out when I read a book entitled ‘Reflection’ launched two weeks back at Ethiopia Hotel. This debut collection of 45 poems was authored by Roman Tewolde-Berhan. The interior of the pages are adorned with magnificent photos by Thomas Lemma. In the book Roman’s thoughts and feelings are portrayed by her poems while Thoma’s vision by his photos.

The poems are the objects of focus in this book review of mine,for that is my domain.

The book also bears poems written by a female in the first person singular ‘i’.

Some schools in literary criticism say it is possible to figure out the authors intention from his writings while other schools argue otherwise. Focusing my attention solely on the ‘Reflection’ which seems to have a recurrent theme, an immaculate yet a broken heart and piecing together excerpts I have come up with the following picture about the persona,though not necessarily about the author.

The poem ‘If i could’ (page 18) shows the intensity of the love the persona entertains towards a lad. An excerpt from this poem reads as follows

/ If i could

i’d be the cloud

above your head

If i could

i’d be the earth you tread

– – – –

When these,i can’t

i remain content

i’ve got you in my heart /

Special moments spent with a cherished love partner remains sealed in memory. Every single thing the road ,a special tree,a sunset or the moon retrieve or occasion remembrances. See the poem ‘The Walk’ (page 11)

/When the day’s almost out

when it’s neither dark

nor day light

– – –

but when none can recognize

the two of us,from a distance

– – –

When we meet

neither of us speak

we hold hands,tight

to take a gentle walk

along our neighborhood street/

The poem that give an animate quality to an inanimate being ‘Howling wind'(page 6) has lines and stanzas that corroborates feelings of being expectant of a news about a sought after person.

/howling wind of the night.

– – –

Do you carry the scent

of my sweet love?

If so,please be fragrant

and let me smell

– – –

Or else,make your passage

Like you,invisible,/

Just like most of us who grew up imbibing fairy tales, the persona was painting love with bright hues. Till wronged she was of the opinion “Love is hundred per cent enduring” See the extract below from ‘Marriage’ (page 46)

/ In my adolescence

the age of innocence

i had a fantasy

i was going to marry

my shining armour

and we’d live happily

forever after

He’d be my prince charming

just like in the fairy tale/

Let us add extracts in the same wave length from the poem ‘Just the Kind’

( page 25)

/My big book says

love is patient,love is kind

I’ve come to know

just the kind

The kind wherein

his thoughts and mine

—intertwine/

But at times things could prove otherwise. The persona seemed to realize such turn of events when her object of love cheated on her. She mentally challenges him to come clean or confess the engagement of his attention elsewhere.

Referring the poem ‘Wanting More’ (page 31) readers could sense the persona’s rude awakening.

/ You chose to disappear

without saying a word

leaving her to linger

When you could have said

you’ve met another

or with a sweet cover

it’s come to an end

still better…the naked truth

you don’t love her enough./

As a shock treatment, experiencing the unexpected the persona seems to realize love could be not enduring.

/ Nothing lasts forever

she’s not that naive

dear,my dear

she was only in love/

Then she poses a question to the fickle lover whether the love he tries to get from the new partner is a genuine one like she and he used to exchange. Excerpts from the poem ‘What you find’ (page 38) throws light on this fact.

/Please, tell me this

by just looking into your eyes

without you saying a word

does she really understand

What you want express

Does she really know you

like i used to?/

In the poem ‘Yet to be said’ (page 52) the persona shows she has not yet relinquished her love for the lad that stole her heart and ran away. She shows her desire to relive shared and enjoyed moments.

/How i wish to articulate

to re-create

what i dreamt

of how i felt

In your embrace

gentle and tight

of your kiss

divinely sweet

of how you held my soul

in your spirit./

See the poem in stanza 5 of the poem ‘Fate’ (page 28) is in the same wave length.

Evidently on the poem ‘The thought of you’ (page 41) after deserted by her lover the persona’s longings for him gathers momentum. Evidently the breaching of promise by a love partner is bitter,for it is tantamount to stabbing on the back. Psychologists that do research on surviving infidelity note such betrayals could create on the cheated person feelings deadly than death. To evade this gruesome pain the persona wishes to be insulated from it or to be above it. Let us see excerpts from ‘Super being'(page 4)

The feeling of . . .

And that of distress

despair and sadness

that seems to breaking

untouched innocence

– – –

Sometimes i wish

to be sub-human,to not feelings

– – – or even . . . better still

to be a super being

without any feeling

Another poem ‘Recollection’ (page24,specially 5,6&7 stanza) is charged with the same sentiment.

Though many agree a resort to venting one’s feelings through jotting poems placates irksome feelings , the following excerpts hints confiding her desire to her pen or writing a poem couldn’t prove that much help to the persona.

/No matter what i write

futile is my attempt

as feelings indescribable

feelings infinite

remain buried

yet to be said/

The poem ‘Unease’ (page 8) shows the persona’s quest for the repose of her soul. She seems pining for death so as to be in the bosom of God the almighty. Almost in many of the poems we trace the words death,corpse,rotten flesh,war and the like. These words show the persona’s feelings of rancor.

/ Often like a gush of a water fall

or like a stream in constant trickle

something stirs in my core

– – –

Oh,let it spill,let it stir

it won’t be forever

it will vanish

and come to an end

with my rotten flesh

when i am dead

or as is my wish

my soul,now unsettled

will peacefully reside

with my loving God/

The expressions ending my body’s toil(page 59) and if i were meant to die in a car accident(page 28) are samples in the same wave length.

A large number of the photos in the book shows sunset—a setting sun being enveloped by darkness. “Are these photos, like the resentment charged poems, unconsciously depicting the overlapping of a love not relinquished and a betrayal by a lover? Or some grief?” is the question that crosses the mind of a person that peruses the book ‘Reflection’

Also the persona in some of her poems relate the grief that smote her upon losing a child. Adding her burden such tragedy could make her see life with the lens of pesmissm. See the poem ‘My dream by Yeats’ (page 19)

/ i’d been waiting,wanting

i’d been desperately looking

for you… … .. for so long

when i wasn’t ready

yet,i wanted you to be

you came to me,my baby

But…chose not to stay

you slipped away

like grains of sand

out of my hand

leaving me empty/

The poem ‘Leona'(page 56) seems in the same wavelength.

In crafting ‘My dream by Yeats’ the poet has brought into play allusion one of the poetic devices famous poets are adept in applying. Her first poem ‘The word ‘ shows the author’s pen that started dripping a drop has now made a river of poems. This poem alludes to the biblical verse “at the beginning there was a word!”

When it comes to style Roman’s poems are melodic as they frequently rhyme. This quality renders her poems the flavor of Ethiopian poems.

Oxymoron — like ‘deafening silence’ (page 56) and ‘Deafeningly faint’ (page 17)– is another poetic device via which she lends color to her poems. Irony like finding solace in solitude (page 23) and paradox like finding relief in grief (page 22) are the poetic devices Roman displayed her talents with.

The dialogue she used to conjure in our mind about the day of judgment and retribution in her poem ‘Stranger in the Night’ (page 12) is superb. It tells about The author’s creative gift. Also in the poem ‘The fight’ last line page 30 ,the semantic oddity she used “so that me and I don’t fight”shows her verve in defamilarization, a literary device for aesthetic effect.

About Marriage (page 46) the persona is not fully pessimist she rather proves she is a realist optimist see the extract

– – –

/Then again,it’s not all gloomy

there are those in matrimony

who are forever happy

with the passion of love

still blazing alive/

– – –

From her poem ‘Self importance’, understandably, it is revolted by the colossal pomposity of some, the persona opted to use the first person pronoun I in its smaller form ‘i’ for humbling oneself. Her poems are not left aligned and don’t start with capital letters,a style in post modernism.

The binary opposition evident in most of her poems are life/death, faithfulness/deceit, an everlasting love(marriage)/A short-lived love (marriage)

In a prowess of a creative talent,in her future work we expect Roman to use additional poetic devices like inversions.,enumeration and the like.

The poet has brought into good effect parallelism and repetition on the poems ‘If i could’ (page 18) on ‘What if’ (page 49).

Her poem ‘if i were a cat'(page 21) is amusing. Her poem ‘Worlds apart’ the ingratitude of the haves and the gratefulness of the have not is paradoxical. The poem ‘Power of thought'(page 21) that shows man’s power of thinking sets him apart from animal at the same time makes him brutal is also paradoxical as many.

The poem ‘Precious'(page 14) that shows a majestic and fledgling bird observing her environment to learn the survival of the fittest shows the poet’s power of observation. The poet has also touched the delicate subject of HIV and stigmatization. Though a mulatto and torn between Ethiopia and United Kingdom the poet tells us she has a great love to Ethiopia where she grew up.See ‘My Ethiopia’ page 32.

Read forgiveness and other poems for yourself.

My hat is flown for the poet. For mood up liftment and style I personally recommend her to read poems by Helen Stiner Rice, called an ambassador of sunshine.

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