CONFESSION!?,AMERICA’S HYPOCRISY, SANYII GAARII (A Strong Breed), VULNERABILITY, THE METAPHOR OF “BEING” SELF IN EXILE, ECOLOGICAL APPROACH TO “BE” after all, UUME: ANOTHER HUMANITY*, SADEEN SUUNSUMMANII, WAL-GAYISA: Ruhif’ Fooni, THE METAPHOR OF “BEING” SELF IN EXILE, By: Professor Asafa Tafara Dibaba, Indiana University, USA

Confession

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taken away by the flight
by the primacy of our own life process
we are all flies craving for honey
or we are pebbles—
washed but never get cleansed!
let us not be distracted by
the disappointment of
common human behavior
we have to accept, how things are
or rebel against
and so doing, we make it easy on us
or make it hard
the choice is ours
but both take the same labor:
when the going gets tough
the tough gets going—
our ordinary madness is real
we are all feeble, crabs at times:
rushing to escape out of the bucket
we are kept in eternally
we step on each other
pull down one another
caught in a stampede
and reach nowhere—
since we walk crabwise!
we are such an orderly chaos—
a gross ENTROPY!
let us listen to the voices
to the crescendo
and climax of nature
that speak the gods’ voice
let us listen
to the moaning and meaning
of love and light
making every single day and night
the voice that transcend
time and space
the voice that comes through
our shared wall of darkness
let us decenter
the dissonance of bad times
the mournful solitary nights
of hunger and sadness
the melancholic fearful days
let us not be distracted
by the disappointment
of common human behaviors,
flaws, greed, unbearable lightness of Being
let us act, let us make peace
let us live and let live in harmony—
half cooked half raw, as we are
let us toss and sip to the top—
sifa! sifa! roobaf’ nagaa!
in love and light…
Assefa Tefera Dibaba
Indiana University, USA

 AMERICA’S HYPOCRISY
back in time,
at such a dominant space
called Shunganunga
where points of above and below meet
people went to fast to be alone with spirit
and there Natives preached to their youth
the “Seven-Generations Principle,”
that every Native should keep in mind:
whatever decision she or he was to make
in lifetime
would affect seven generations to come!
now, Puritans came
and preached to the Natives:
they came to fight for religious freedom
and that God gave them the land—
a safe haven to be free from the British rule
those freedom fighters
sooner or later
banned the Natives’ right
to the religious freedom
they themselves sought
and burned, slashed and killed buffaloes
cut down timbers, and disrupted nature!
now, Thomas Paine rose
and nailed the principle of independence
and, at the same time, engraved
the creed of Manifest Destiny
in the Common Sense:
that the coast to coast expansion
was justifiable and inevitable destiny!
now, Walt Whitman rose
and hailed “sex contains all!”
in his “A Woman Waits for Me”*—
an ode to procreation or miscegenation
in which he strips
women of their independence
and Natives
of their self-assurance—
unlike his “Democratic Vistas”!
now, we owe debt
long overdue
over the seven generations
don’t we folks?
or we owe nobody nothing
just to be successful—
don’t think, just be
don’t be, just do
it?
America is the World,
American is Humankind?
now, we have come too long a way
from “A Woman Waits for Me”
to the “Vagina Monologue”**
and to say:
no society can be immune
to hypocrisy, social pretension, anarchism, oblivion,
until it refutes itself against its foundation values:
Manifest Destiny, Removal Act, Trail of Tears, Slavery,
and racism, the neo-Jim Crow–
going on everywhere and anywhere in disguise!
and to adhere to Democratic Principles!
in a society where economic freedom is at its center,
Individual Liberty, for the Individual
without Food without Shelter,
is virtually impossible, manifestly a lie–
or it is only politically correct!
right?
Slave Trade is over, not Slavery
look at you doing Voluntary Servitude–
is it any better?
now, before we go without going
it is time for us to learn new prayers
and thus the Pastor leads the prayer:
there is no Poor on this land
only the Rich and the not-so-Rich
we are all equal
now we are not in jail
now we have no cancer
now You bless these couples:
he and he
he and she
she and she
we love the World
more than you do
God,
we trust in GOLD!
hallelujah
we trust in GOLD!
amen!
[12/06/2015]
__________
* Walt Whitman, “A Woman Waits for Me,” in Leaves of Grass, pp108-109, 1867.
**Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologue, 1996.


P O E T R Y C O R N E R

As per your kind requests, here I post this Poem again. I have good reasons to do so as you have yours! And trust me, this piece, among many others, speaks to the deeper innermost of my heart as ever!
SANYII GAARII (A Strong Breed)
-1a-
warri fayyaa nu awwaalee
Sanyii Gaarii tahuu nu wallaale:
kan funyaan sagaliin margu
kan du’ee ka’ee ifa argu
kan qarabaan isaa biilaa
jajjabaa akka sibiilaa
kan sandaaboon ishee ruufaa
kan jamamiin ishee quufaa–
kan hiddi lafa dhisu
kan firiin suga misu!
-1b-
[those who buried us alive–
they didn’t realize
that
we are Seed
of
a Strong Breed:
that
die
to live
decay
to geminate
to shoot
and fruit
and thrive!]
-2-
Nameen Namuma
Ejersi anuma
….jedhe latoon ejersaa, jedhan–
muranii gatnaan
achuma ciisee latnaan:
Ejerso Numa–
Nameen Isaanuma!

P O E T R Y C O R N E R
27. Lets lay down our burden, lets lay down our shame, lets lay down calling one another bad name and spying on one another and slurring names. It is of no any use for us, the oppressed! Such is an irremediable moral and social crisis. Instead, lets turn to each other for help, for compassion and for forgiveness before it is too late. Lets start healing the broken heart. Lets lift our head and chin up! We have come too long a distance to turn back. And the walk to freedom is yet too far! The Journey by itself is not a Destination! Believe it or not, at present, we are caught in the middle of turbulent wave! We are at a crossroad!
The monarchic rule tagged our freedom fighters as Bandits (Shiftas) and executed us; the Derg called us Outlaws (Waanbadee); and today, the Woyane harass us and convict our non-violent young protesters as Terrorists (Ashabbaarii).
We have common destiny: to make peace within us and survive as a nation or to go on fighting one another a hidden psywar and perish! Yet, if we make the right choice, that is, to tolerate our differences and unite, we too shall survive, Folks. Rest assured, the sun set on us, will rise and shine once again.
However, now, here is my hope, now, here is my fear: Chinua Achebe is right to say:
“In the end I began to understand. There is such a thing as absolute power over narrative. Those who secure this privilege for themselves can arrange stories about others pretty much where, and as, they like. Just as in corrupt, totalitarian regimes, those who exercise power over others can do anything.”
―from “Home and Exile” by Chinua Achebe
Understand?
Hayyee. Roobaafi Nagaa.

P O E T R Y C O R N E R

VULNERABILITY
By singing to you Songs of what “Is”
or by telling you Stories of the “Ought”
you thought
I sowed seeds of Wisdom
to enrich your languishing Soul–
but I tricked you
I sneaked a message
–a Trojan Horse–
that I dumped on your gate
my weapon of the weak
that you pulled in
in the middle of the night
into the fortified citadel of your mind
as if this is by irony of fate–
no escape,
i trick you again–I’m a Poet!
_______________
Cf. David Whyte’s view on “Vulnerability”. I wrote this piece yesterday, April 12, 2016. I left the short poem with no title–of my uncertainty, and of languages’s indeterminacy –unable to fill out the vacuum of language. Yet, today, Dr Tsegaye R. Ararsa, a passionate lover of poetry and good poets himself, sent in David Whyte my way. And here I put my poem where it belongs– “VULNERABILITY,” the realm of loss where we all belong.

P O E T R Y C O R N E R

THE METAPHOR OF “BEING” SELF IN EXILE
here is the metaphor of “being”
self
in exile:
i am a country boy
raised close to Nature
speaking to gods–
there i learnt
to hold on to the self
while going out of the self
to enter the Unknown!
there i made my world
initiated
close to Culture:
attached meaning to it
taught to act in it
creatively–
also taught:
only the naive enters
a pre-given world!

P O E T R Y C O R N E R

ECOLOGICAL APPROACH TO “BE”
after all,
use no Common Sense
to “be”
and later to whine
over a spilled milk!
apply Ecological Approach
to “be”:
by Ecological Principle
of relational thinking,
people are Trees.
wait and see
how they hold up
in every season–
especially,
in a DRY SEASON!
waa-hin-hubatin
waa-hin-tahin!
no?
what?
well,
screw you, then!

P O E T R Y C O R N E R

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UUME: ANOTHER HUMANITY*
“Uume Walaabuu baate.”
____Oromo Saying
* * *
is there no way out of this house?
oh my soul
you are suffocated
again in this long haul!
if you can’t see eternal beauty in Nature,
at least you can see
blankness—a double vision—
in your self!
not the self self
but the historical self.
discovery of the self
is
based on failures
not on success!
we are not here
nor there. simply we ARE
not who we think we are–
or in spite of it!
come on buddy
we kept company for long
on this road
full of stars and stones and song!
let us withdraw
from this implacable heavy barrenness
and sojourn in Nature
let us hibernate awhile
out of this ache of
mutilated self
voluntary servitude
and uncritical knowledge:
physical labor alone
destroys us—
if we live to eat!
knowledge
spoils us—
if we fail to live
by what we know:
Nature redeems us!
let us tickle death
like Halloween night
children do
poke death in the nose
and laugh noisily
turning to Nature
let us trick death
consult the gods and goddesses
play hide and seek
fugitive to Nature:
for if we are ready or not
again the night is falling!
when parting is such sweet sorrow
songs of hope are my calling–
for there is no greater song or poem
than one for restoring generation!
now there is no destination–
it is NOWHERE:
when everyone is a priest of his own
there is no one priest left in the land
let us be our own priest? —
not the kind of a dying breed
but of eternal spirit!
let us sit quiet
now, no story to tell
no song to sing!
be TOGETHER
by the river (of love & life)
and watch:
the meandering water
the uncoiling snake
the creeping vine
the sleeping rock
the roaring thunder
on the edge of the horizon
the flashing lightning
behind the mountain
and see eternity
in the grain of sand
let us trace
the footprints of
MAKKO BILLI
and the gray bull Gommol
let us come home
to the hilltop
to Mount Nam-dur
to Fugug:
the home of H/oro & Uume
and observe
the home-coming herd
led by the gray bull Gommol
and the descending shadow
of our ancestors—
hovering over our head
at a close distance
let us dust the path
unwalked for ages
unravel the past
and see
the consuming beauty
of being in becoming
rising from Dachii—
Mother Earth
bejeweled
in gems of morning silver dew.
let us clean the dirt
remove the scraps
and wash our hands
in Bishaan Gaarii
in Bishaan Nagaa
at Malkaa Odaa
where Uume once stepped, knelt down at Malkaa
and washed
her loincloths
let us warm our cold
gross nonhumanness
and feel the madness
bottled within us!
one has to choose between
the perfection of the life and
the perfection of the kaawo (cause)
in life. To want both is in human greed
but to balance both is futile
as it is to forge self on own dream!
let us return to the source
and pause and peep
through this window of the soul
to the unbounded expanse
beyond itself
let us suck on nectar
quaff honey-wine
drunken like little bee
and chant the litany of lost things—
beyond this humanity
WAS
another
humanity:
across the burial mounds of
dead dynasties
and monarchs
dead empires
dead dictators
dead communists
dead fascists
near the shrines
of the living gods
and goddesses
is
another
humanity
called
Uume—
Mother Nature.
*This poem draws on the Oromo saying, Uume Walaabuu baate, meaning, the origin of Creation or Uumaa Ganamaa (genesis of Mother Nature/Earth) is Walaabu, eastern Oromia, Ethiopia. By this Oromo origin theory and an account of Oromo sense of place or mythscape, Walaabu (and Fugug and Tulluu Nam-dur) stands out as a dominant space in Oromo origin narrative(s) mainly for two reasons: first, it is a common knowledge carried in Oromo historical tradition that Walaabu is the mythical homeland of the Cushitic Oromo people in North East Africa; second, Walaabu serves as a reference point of alter/native narrative in response to the phony outside-origin-theory made up by Abyssinians for the Oromo, and is also used as a counter-text to the Christian myth of Eden and Genesis.
The lore is one typical example of a strong Oromo sense of place, an indispensable connection to their land, such as the case of Finfinne, where from the 1880s, Abyssinian warlords changed Oromo pastures and huts into hotels and virgins into prostitutes– the naked truth which Abyssinian elites (and Ethiopianist scholars) are shamelessly and persistently set on veiling.
For a similar account of Oromo worldview of place (land) and Origin Myth, one may consult Stephen Belcher’s “The Oromo of Southern Ethiopia,” in his African Myths of Origin.
In all accounts, this poem is more about the “Beginning” than about “Origin”. It is a song of Place in Placelessness.

 SADEEN SUUNSUMMANII
~1~

May grad. pic 3
dhuma moo dhuundhuma
suma moo suunsuma?
gubaa dha, gubaa abiddaa
madaa dha, madaa duddaa
ba’aa hundaa, xinnaaf guddaa
as sixxaa, achi lixxaa
ya suunsumee,
cittoon kee waa sii goomee
qeensi doomee,
keessi coomee?
~2~
dhumas miti
sumas miti, ya eessumee
anis atis akamuu
as siquufi achi siquu
“du’i!” “hin du’u!”
kan wargamuu,
bada cita foon maddii
dhikkisa mudaamuddii
kumkummee sirba giddii
anis atis akamuu–
gubaa abiddaa
madaa duddaa
kan kee malee, koo hin argamuu?
~3~
suumsumi dhagaa
guumgumi nagaa
anuu jira yaa firaa
jirra hamma sanyii,
jirra hamma ciraa
kan mataan sooyyee nu qabu
kan maqaan fooyyee nu qabu
qotanii nu dhaabanii
koranii nu yaabani
warri tolee hin tolchine
tolchee waa bilcheessine
warri bilchina eegee
warri qabbana hin eegne
afaan galata hin beekne
walmakoo–
dheedhiif’ bilchaataa
kuun in gubataa
kuun in bukataa
irri-dibii, jalli dibii
gidduudhaan dibaan dibii
dubbiin Uumaaf’
dubbiin Namaa,
ya suunsumaa,
walum’ keessaa–
kuun urgaa’ee
kuun ajaa’ee
himaa
akka dhuufuu qayya keessaa!
__________________
Some argue (Haberland and others) that there is no known megalithic culture among the Oromo, but no one can undermine the symbolic significance of SUUNSUMA (hearthstones) in Oromo tradition, not to mention the Cushites’ art of Meroe and Axum.
According to Oromo tradition, among the three hearthstones, the biggest one planted at the lower end of the hearth represents
a) permanence (raaguu, dagaaguu, latuu, hafuu)
b) the first-born (angafa) in the home, in the family
So you know that while the two lower/shorter hearthstones change positions frequently, the single major hearthstone remains where it is as long as the mana (home) and baddaa (fireplace) remains active! Remember the hibboo (puzzle) “As sixxaa, achi sixxaa, cittoon kee akkam jira?”
It is this symbolic representation of suunsuma (hearthstone) that inspired this poem, SADEEN SUUNSUMMANII, which resonates with us in our childhood memory of fireside night plays, “…Sadeen maal?” “Sadeen Suunsummanii”…
But the poem takes us far from fireplace! How many of us stand firm like the hearthstone in the face of adversities?
________
See Christopher Grant for more information on Oromo beliefs and practices related to “stones,” not in a poetic sense but in a different context of Oromo worldview.
Christopher Grant , 2006, “Stones, Slabs, and Stelae: The Origins and Symbolism of Contemporary Oromo Burial
Practice and Grave Art” SIT Study Abroad

P O E T R Y C O R N E R

WAL-GAYISA: Ruhif’ Fooni
(A Mind-Body Dialogue)*
(foon)
akkas jedha foonni:
fira, firaa! ruhi f’ foonni firaa
ruhin amna baatee
qalbiin faana kaatee
bakka dhaqan hin galle
bakka galan hin dhaqne–
woo anaa! woo anaa!
du’aa-jiraa…
(ruhi)
amma duunee
la-duunee:
akka jaldoo teteennee
afaaniin wal aboonnee
akka waraabaa yaanee
akka gabaa dubbannee
wal hin dhageennee
xiloo qarannee
xiloon wal haanee
wal dhiigsine
wal jigsinee
walii hin dhiignee
amma duunee
la-duunee
(foon)
korbeessa waayyuu banoo
karra amna duulaa nuu bani
korbeessa obboroo dubbatu
dhugaa nu dubaachiisi:
ya ruhi! ya ruhi!
ruhi sanyii mootii
intala warra nagaa
intala warra maatii warra maasii
kan mormi hirkisaa bulu
kan konkonni foon muru
situ sanaa, natu akkanaa
“jaala koo” naan jedhi
“jaaltoo koo”-n siin jedhaa
oollee bullaa, gaaddisa
uumee qullaa
lafa ifaa, jaalalaafi qabbanaa
(ruhi)
ya foonii ya foonii
fagoo-dhiyoo ani
ulee koo hin gatini
ulee loonii
ulaa koo hin cufini
ulaa soorii
(foon)
ya ruhi ya ruhi
siin nahaa naa nahi
ardiin na naannahi
fageenyi ha hinaafuu
duuti garaa ha laafuu
situ sana, natu akkanaa
oollee bullaa
uumee qullaa
lafa ifaa, jaalalaafi qabbanaa
ani jaala keetii
jaaltoo kooti ati
“jaala koo” naan jedhi
“jaaltoo koo”-n siin jedhaa
lameen wal jaalate
aadaan akkas beettii!
_______
It is a sudden attack this week. A new sudden attack of poetic madness, a new experience not sure what! 🙂 Anyway, the poem is more about the happy hour when Soul (Ruhi) meets Body (Foon) than when she departs. It is an attempt to make a poetic spiritual stance on a foundation of truth–a meditation about being honest to Self, Body worshiping Soul–during this reunion! An attempt to live one’s greatness in harmony in the face of dis-empowerment and adversity!
For no wrong life can be lived rightly!
In Love&Light!
______I dedicate this poem to R.N.

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Professor Asafa Tafara Dibaba,

Indiana University, USA

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