after the injera, the wat, the niter kibby

Kebero
Kebero

his hands flutter over and onto the kebero
a world constructed in the moments of sound
a world razed in the moments of silence
a rhythm of birth and rebirth
of heartbeat and life-blood

he’d gone to Africa, this young man
to chase down his roots
to buy exotic drums
to make rhythms with his brothers
to sing with his sisters
to learn, to grow, to come home and teach

he was full of grace, brimming with jazz
just rocking his universe, rolling with spirit
alight with green and gold and
the breath of wild savannas and
wilder cheetahs, monkey pranks
and elephantine tuskedness

what, i had to ask, was the take-away
after the safaris and the drumming
and the injera, the wat, the niter kibby
and berbere spices, the many fine meals
downed with ambo wuhteh

ah, he said, i met a sister
i was driving a forlorn road
she was walking alongside,
carrying a bundle of wood
i stopped and offered her a lift
no, she said, NO
if I ride today, i’ll want to ride tomorrow
it’s a recipe for unhappiness

she’s right, you know, he said
from wanting comes despair ...
and so i drum, just drum, he said
his hands fluttering over and onto the kebero
a world constructed in the moments of sound
a world razed in the moments of silence
a rhythm of birth and rebirth and peace of heart

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reserved; photo (Kebero, a conical hand drum, for the traditional music of Ethiopia and Eritrea, by Karl Heinrich and released into the public domain

2 comments

  1. Pat said on December 4, 2014
    What a beautiful story, with a moral lesson that drew the response, "Ah, yes!" But then I began to wonder, what is the difference between wanting and hoping?
    1. Jamie Dedes said on December 8, 2014
      A good question, Pat. The gentleman is Buddhist, so perhaps that explains his perspective though not the young woman's.

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