Ethiopia Poetry


Ethiopian Flag


A trip with this much emotional impact lends itself to many forms of expression and remembrance. One, for me, was poetry.


On Our Way!
On Our Way!
(Click to enlarge)


This first poem came during the flight over the polar route to Europe as I looked ahead to our time in Yetebon with all its unknowns. It also memorialized the emotions felt by me personally, seen by me in other team members, and hanging in the air for all of us as we had gathered at SFO, entered the airport, and boarded our plane. We brought our "baggage," our expectations, and our fears!


The Moment of Trust

Onto that sunny curbside we arrived
By ones and twos,
Smiles, hugs hiding secrets untold;
Secret fears, pains, wonderings;
Yet tumbled we inside, obediently
Joining the fray; an act of trust this,
Yes, an act of faith, for
This moment we were called,
Timeless, eternally called:
“In us may they see nothing save the glory of the Lord.”

-- by Steve Belton
October 27, 2006
toward Addis Ababi


This next poem was written after our introduction to Project Mercy and its people. Dee had given us a tour that highlighted the work that was being done, but even more importantly she highlighted for us the spirit behind the work. Then at dinner I sat with Marta who told the story of a time when she was working on a building project with some others and a young boy kept holding onto her leg, hugging her incessantly. He wouldn't let go and since she couldn't keep working, she sat with him and asked, "Why are you hugging me so?" His response, "Because you love me" surprised Marta since she had never met him. She asked, "How do you know I love you?" to which he answered simply, "Because of what you have done."


Beguiling Beauty!
Beguiling Beauty!
(Click to enlarge)
Upon Seeing Project Mercy For The First Time

Beguiling beauty, from what did you spring?
Were you hewn by human hands
from ragged rocks and dry ground, by
calloused hands, brows wet with sweat, sunburned skin
here on this high valley floor
against these majestic Yetebon hills?

Are you the irresistible product of Love,
Love itself, Love incarnate, a tangible beacon
shining on the One who is Love,
Answering once, yes once for all time, the burning question
on all our lips,
"How do I know I'm loved?"

O wondrous beguiling beauty,
Wondrous gift of love,
For you we cry, "Abba, Father!"

-- by Steve Belton
October 29, 2006
Yetebon, Ethiopia


This last poem was begun after my arrival back at our home tukul at Project Mercy after the very first day of our mobile clinics. The emotions of this breathtaking day in Ensena had to be captured, to be savored again and again in the future lest my memory fail me. It was not completed until several more days of clinic had passed, each reinforcing the message of the previous day, a message of God's peace amidst brokenness, God's love bringing light to all, and the easy mingling of our western selves with these beautiful people from this culture which is as far removed from ours as the east is from the west.


Kite Soaring Over<br>Great Rift Valley!
Kite Soaring Over
Great Rift Valley!
(Click to enlarge)

Our Yetebon Cup

Towering clouds reflect
The setting sun’s glory
As we return to camp,
Bones tired, hearts overflowing,
Minds racing;
We sift stories heard,
Timeless stories brimming with life,
Indelible images these
Which fill our cup of tears
As east and west collide
In hope and love;
Heaven descends – triumphant –
Moment upon moment,
Hearts connect,
The darkness becomes light,
Grace abounds,
And we see anew
The Suffering Servant’s gift of peace.

-- by Steve Belton
November 6, 2006
Yetebon, Ethiopia



Valid HTML 4.01!