Two sides of a coin

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Friends, have you ever played

With the head of the coin in your palm

Either you lose or you get away with it


Lo, I did play one today

Two things, just two only

Saw him blindfold me

After knocking me down,

I was overjoyed, thanks to PRA


Behold to the saga

I saw people that exuded humanity

Who bear compassion, empathy filled to the brim

The threshold lush with the ornate

Of the down-and-out


I trekked many lands, my feet migrated

Met tillers, panhandlers at first sight


I scrapped from the crust of bread

I flourished in their poor holdings

Fed me from their bare minimum

Full of candour, no pretensions

Compassionate, and contagious courage


What’s more I saw their clairvoyance

Like a prophet receiving a vision

Standing on today, live on tomorrow

Sitting on craggy rocks, polish a smooth stool

Peasants of the motherland!


I saw them tilling the unyielding land

Dragging the recreant plough-shaft

With unfailing hope


I took their wisdom for folly

Their enlightenment for uncouthness

I was the one who was It was me, who was the blind

Though I am enlightened, while I was not.


Lo…on the other side of the coin

The world is like a small quilt

Covers the feet, leaving the head exposed

The kindhearted earth that asked for a heavy price

Was fast asleep to see all these


The hills of my homeland

Robbed of their greenery and their decorum

The gorges dried of running waters

Fed with raging rays of the sun.


On one side of the coin

Deluge of life

Parallel to perpetual lamentation

Drowned in my own tribulations

My spirit contented


Two opposites

Right and Left

The motherland, kindly earth

How long would you remain muted?

Let your woes fade like the dew

Shine, smile to your content


I cried and smiled

Overjoyed and resentful

Woe to you PRA


            Amanuel Asrat translated from Tigrinya by Nasser Ahmedin

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