Kushitic Closure

This poem is inspired by memories of a lovely and kind-hearted Ethiopian university student who lived with my family when I was ten. She introduced us to berbere and doro wat, and taught me to appreciate gastronomy from Africa’s horn. She had a beautiful smile, she had a Wilson Pickett record and she initiated me into the mysteries of pop music and the radio. Her name was Adeye. This was in the mid-70’s just before the Marxist coup which brought in Haile Mengistu Mariam. We lost touch with her long ago. The poem is also inspired by times I have been offered coffee among Ethiopian people, who have a beautiful ceremony involving frankincense when they partake.

One last Kushitic dream—be patient: once I was at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, in the Egyptian mummy room (a Coptic one-liner there for you). I was chatting with a beautiful Eritrean security guard among the crypts. Mysteriously, everyone cleared out and for a short while it was only the two of us, surrounded by opened sarcophagi in the dimly-lit room. For a moment I thought I was speaking with the eternal spirit of some princess who had just climbed out of one of them !




I long to know that land in spirit
where the highlands meet the desert.
Where there’s faith and coffee served
with ceremony still observed.

The white-robed land, where priests intone
in levite ritual ‘round the ark.
A land in clouds of frankincense,
whose past is bitter, strong and dark. 


I’ll enter where the rock is carved
in cruciform epiphany;
where Midian’s curtains hide the starved

whose hunger feeds conspiracy. 

I’ll walk the wilds of Meroë
all ruined in the desert sands,ethiop cross
where beauty wails and ululates
as silver gleams on amber strands.

Her kings and peasants come to naught
when princes’ plots are overthrown.
Her blameless name was never bought;
her faith in Christ is scribed in stone.


Queen Sheba’s golden sepulcher – 
your modern guises can’t suffice
to quench the fire of God and spice.

Davidic land—like calvary
your power purifies the heart
through struggle, prayer, and ancient art.

Kublai Khan: Yaitopya


…A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

From: Kubla Khan by Coleridge ( 1772- 1834)

Princes shall come out of Egypt;
Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth;
O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:

To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens,
which were of old;
lo, he doth send out his voice,
and that a mighty voice.

Ascribe ye strength unto God:
his excellency is over Israel,
and his strength is in the clouds.

O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places:
the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power
unto his people.
Blessed be God.

Psalm 68:31-36     (KJV)


Dubbed by the Queen of the South

Knights of the Greater Ithiopia / rise before Her Majesty / Enthroned in echoing sound-waves / trinity of rhythm code revealed in drumbeats mathematical precision of Truth / moving out across God’s universe / dubbed into all languages / a greater than Solomon lives and reigns / serve wisdom / plead for wisdom / dub echoes shimmer and die, rise reborn, depart for the throne / behold gnostic error / reverberations of Faith / the Dragon is slain / in every passing second…

ethiopian crucifix

Queen of the South REVEALED 

Condemned by the Queen

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation,
and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas;
and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation,
and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

    Gospel of Matthew 12:41-42