Ode to Aba-I (Nile) River in July የአባይ (ህዳሴ) ዉዳሴ በሃምሌ!

4 mins read

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

Aaahhh! Longing for the sweet earthy scent of Aba-I
Her beauty and bounty resounding to the sky
Waiting for July on the calendar
Hail Aba-I, I salute you from afar.

Aba for the Father
I, for the Son of the Light and Power
Aba-I, the Mother
Of the longest running river.

Strangers call you Baḥr Al-Nīl, Nile and Neilos
To me, you are the “River Gihon” of Genesis
“That compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia”
Destined one day to be a utopia.

There stood I at Aba-I

Sta kly saw in my mind’s eye
A future so radiant and bright
My heart filled with gushing delight.

It is July at Aba-I
Pride glints in the lion’s eye
For July brings the light of prosperity
Farewell and begone poverty!

Aba-I many found you a source of plenty
As your people scoured the earth for charity
Aba-I now you are the source of our power
Our great equalizer!

Rushed to leave for thousands of years
Aba-I helplessly we stood and shed our tears
Now rest your feet for just a while
And make Ethiopia your domicile.

“A gift of the Nile”, they call themselves
Recite their history in superlatives
If anyone should tamper with “their water”
They promised a day of wrath and slaughter.

They call themselves the “Lords of the Nile”
Damned the GERD but it was all futile
In July we asserted our sovereignty
To last for all eternity.

Egypt has nothing to fear
They are our brothers and sisters so dear
We will share our Aba-I equitably
With malice towards none and responsibly.

Sudan shall tame its annual floods
As Aba-I mends their livelihoods
Let’s join hands in our Africanity
And together affirm our humanity.

[G]reat is the month of July in Ethiopia
[E]nergy for regional cornucopia
[R]ise up and shout in the dawn of summer
[D]amn! Behold the beautiful tower of our power!

No longer will we live in the dark
Aba-I today is our Ark
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
And today brought Ethiopians together by His design.

Aba-I shall power our industry
Commerce and agriculture shall follow in symmetry
Our youth shall gain employment
No more trouble, only excitement!

Aba-I dearest, have you heard?
Your children fighting unable to go forward
They beg for answers at the U.N.
Forgetting their own African Union.

Aba-I dearest, Lake Tana your mother can’t breathe
Choked by water hayacinth
We are standing idly by
Shame on us for watching as passersby.

Aba-I said Abiy will light our way to prosperity
Warned no one can tread on our sovereignty
Come hell or high water
Abiy said Aba-I will produce power.

Let us all enjoy Aba-I without acrimony
No more talk of hegemony
Aba-I is our gift to keep
There will be no reason for anyone to weep.

Let Aba-I be Aba-I for one and all
A source of life for nations great and small
Let our hopes overcome our fears
There is no more need to shed tears.

Let us gather around Aba-I and sing
Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan make a ring
Lets us lift every voice and shout in July, “I am Aba-I”
“I am Aba-I. Aba-I am.”




  1. All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

    Good try, but the the best poem ever written about the Nile is by our great Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin: Let the poet be the poet.

    NILE: A Poem by Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin

    I am the first Earth Mother of all fertility
    I am the Source I am the Nile I am the African I am the beginning
    O Arabia, how could you so conveniently have forgotten
    While your breath still hangs upon the threads of my springs
    O Egypt, you prodigal daughter born from my first love
    I am your Queen of the endless fresh waters
    Who rested my head upon the arms of Narmer Ka Menes
    When we joined in one our Upper and Lower Lands to create you
    bosom of my being
    How could you so conveniently count down
    In miserable billions of petty cubic yards
    The eternal drops of my life giving Nile to you
    Beginning long before the earth fell from the eye ball of heaven,
    O Nile, that gush out from my breath of life
    Upon the throats of the billions of the Earth’s thirsty multitudes,
    O World, how could you so conveniently have forgotten
    That I, your first fountain, I your ever Ethiopia
    I your first life still survive for you?
    I rise like the sun from the deepest core of the globe
    I am the conqueror of scorching pestilences
    I am the Ethiopia that “stretch her hands in supplication to
    I am the mother of the tallest traveler on the longest journey on Earth
    My name is Africa I am the mother of the Nile.
    O Nile, my prodigal daughter on the wilderness of the desert
    Bringing God’s harmony to all brothers and sisters
    And calming down their noises of brass in their endless nakednesses
    O Nile, you are music that restore the rhythm of existence
    Into the awkward stampeding of these Middle Eastern blindnesses
    You are the irrigator that cultivate peace
    From my Ethiopian sacred mountains of the sun
    Across to nod on the East of Aden and across Sinai
    Beyond Gibraltar into the heights of Mount Moriah
    O Nile, my chosen sacrifice for universal peace offering
    Upon whose gift the heritages of Meroe and Egypt
    Still survive for the benefit of our lone World
    You are the proud daughter O Nile, who taught
    The ancient world how to walk in upright grace
    You are my prodigal daughter who saved and breast fed
    Little lost Jacob whose brothers sold for food
    You, who nurtured, fed and raised
    The child prophet called Moses on your cradle,
    You, who stretched out your helping hand and protected
    The baby Christ from the slaughtering swords of their Herods,
    O Nile, my infinite prodigal daughter
    At whose feet mountains like Alexander bent
    Their unbendable heads to drink from your life giving milk,
    O Nile, at whose feet giants like Caesar Knelt
    Conquerors like Napoleon bowed
    Their unbowable heads to partake from your immortal bounty.
    O Nile, you are the majestic blood line of my African glory
    That shower my blessings upon the starved of the world
    You are the eloquence that ring the Ethiopian bell across the deaf world You
    are the gifted dancer of graceful rhythms
    That harmonize with your sisters Atbara and Shabale
    With your brothers Awash and Juba
    To fertilize the scorched sands of Arabia
    O Nile, without your gift Mediterranea shall be a rock of dead waters
    And Sahara shall be a basket of skeletons
    You are Africa’s black soil that produce life
    You are the milk that quench the thirsty multitudes
    You are the messenger of my gospel, O Nile
    That bring my abundant harvest to the mouth of the needy
    You are the elegant pilgrim of my mercy.
    You are the first fountain you are the first ever Ethiopia
    You are the appeaser of the lustful greeds
    You are the first Earth Mother of all fertility
    Rising like the sun from the deepest core of the globe
    You are the conqueror of the scorching pestilence
    You are the source you the Africa you are the Ethiopia you are the Nile.

    – Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin, Ethiopian Poet Laureate, August 1997

  2. Professor, please stick to teaching, lawyering, zoom constitutional sessions, anything but poetry. it just does not jive with you. It’s like me deciding to be Kenny Rogers the dead country music star. It just does not make sense.

  3. ምንድነው ይሄ
    ግጥም ወይስ ኑዛዜ?

    አሳን መብላት በብልሀት
    አለ ያገሬ ስው
    አሳቀኝ ገንፎ ከምሳዬ ተርፎ

  4. Al mariam,

    mouth piece and topic changer! Opportunist.

    Instead of writing about Amara genocide, he is talking about Amara resource.
    Al maria, you do not care about Amara life but you salivate about Amara resource. Shame on you!

  5. We all rooting for our country to inaugurate the GERD but please let’s remain grounded in our professions. We have too many Jack of all trades running wild here. Whenever a you see silly thing like this , remember that we live in a serious time.

  6. I noticed that this is the shortest article you have written. Congratulations! Keep it up and keep it short, but next time please try to write more clear because I don’t understand this one. You might as well have written it in another language. Thank you. !

  7. My dearest Ethiopia, Home of the Nile
    I may not pretend to be a poet
    But I do also long for your honeyed aroma
    sweet earthy combination of qualities,
    shapes, colors, forms
    that pleases the aesthetic senses,
    especially the sight.
    I’m struck by your beauty

    Yes for የአባይ (ህዳሴ) ዉዳሴ በሃምሌ!
    But remain suspicious of Hypocrisy.
    in poetry forms or otherwise
    A cat may go to a monastery, but she she remains a cat.

    Drearest Ethiopia, beyond the nile We got a common enemy
    He is called Hypocrisy.
    But we shall raise our voices and object every time
    We shall, without remorse, abort every fetus of hypocrisy

    A poets weapons are metaphors and similes
    With these we can forever be, thorns in the side of hypocrisy.
    Hypocrisy in punditry
    The democracy of hypocrites in the all levels and forms.
    Two different side of pretense, in acts that they perform.
    To convince another of another, I believe they want a medal,
    For performing it to the world, hypocrisy in the highest levels.

    Dearest Ethiopia, Medemer is the solution not this
    Not derg era propoganda in poetry form
    Hypocrisy in the way of being friends with a kid,
    Who always down and never seems to fit in.
    And when everyone begins to suddenly laugh at him.
    You’re never there to give a hand, but always far out in the crowds,
    Thinking if you go to help, they would laugh at you being friends with him.

    Hypocrisy in forms of being two people at a time.
    A time for your beliefs of having higher standards and another time for the hypocrite.
    Never would you wish to see them catch you doing it.
    Because there and then only all your friends, family and the ones you love the most will see you as a counterfeit.

    Dearest Ethiopia, turn off the lights and hide beneath a blanket
    phone dimmed,
    laptop closed until I absolutely must open it.

    Avoid Hypocrisy. Yes to የአባይ (ህዳሴ) ዉዳሴ በሃምሌ!

  8. Prof. Al Mariam,
    What a timely and, beautiful rhyming poem you have written about our legendary and mysterious Abay river. After having been the source of life and prosperity for Egypyt and Sudan for thousands of years, it is going to be our hope for our future. In a few years it will open many opportunities for our people. What more important news will we ever than this? July will be in our history book along with the sacrifices paid by our citizens to building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. May it be a symbol of our unity.

  9. Malan Jira,

    Its time to rejoice my friend as we bear privilege to that day which our forefathers could only have dreamed about. Imagine the dividend brought about by this one grand venture which we call the GERD (more incentive for nations to cooperate, rather than tear each other apart), a major ticket to prosperity for our people, electricity for all, less deforestation, children enjoying their years as children instead of on back breaking work, more economic dependency across the Ethiopian regional states and hence more peace… You get the picture. It is precisely this gush of anticipation that I take away from this author’s poem. Lets not make the perfect the enemy of the good. After all, beauty & Art ain’t gotta be perfect to be enjoyed.

    From the womb of Lake Tana, I burst forth,
    Embarking on an epic journey towards the north
    Where I will rendezvous with the Mediterranean.
    Many are the obstacles and by the time I reach my destination,
    I will be as crooked as a politician.

    In some parts, I plunge hundreds of feet over cliff walls,
    Sending off clouds of vapour as thick as tear gas.
    In others, my brisk pace is reduced to leisurely stroll.
    Enforced to tributaries, I soldier on to my distant goal,
    Snaking through fantastic valleys and conquering scorching deserts.
    ‘Why doesn’t this river dry up?” mused the ancients.
    “And where, oh where, is her secret source?”

    For millennia, I held my secrets fast –
    My age, my origin, my tributaries, my course –
    Before I revealed all, men had to die as if cursed.
    I am the Keeper of Genesis, Guardian of the Past.
    I enabled great civilizations to spring from bare dust.
    The pyramids, catacombs, historical cities like Alexandria,
    The Pharaohs, their subjects and mighty dynasty,

    All owe their existence to me.
    Without me, Osiris would not resurrect,
    Pudding-soft paddies would be as hard as tins,
    Egyptians would go down like bowling pins,
    Hippos, crocodiles, sacred ibis and fish of every description
    Would lie lifeless, awaiting the Second Resurrection!
    I am the real Goddess of Fertility – no river touches me.
    The Mississippi falls short, the Thames only comes up to my knee.
    I am Anubis among jackals, Sobek among crocodiles.
    I am the Abay-I; Ye Alem Sissay.
    -a poem by Alex Nderitu

    First line had Lake Victoria in the original (instead of Lake Tana)
    Last line had “I am the Nil” in the original (instead of I am the Aba-I; Ye-Alem Sissay)

  10. Zewdu Gebre,

    One of the things Ethiopians had always discovered strange to comprehend about was the political opinionators is the manner of nonstop restating of the very very obvious . We all know that July is an important month for the GERD as Ethiopia starts to fill. We are all eagerly anticipating the historic moment. Indeed Abay is the legendary and mysterious river. After having been the source of life and prosperity for Egypyt and Sudan for thousands of years, it is going to be our hope for our future.” That has nothing to do with the quality of the poem, which is to state the obvious very poor. Timing does not justify unusable. With fear of stating the obvious: Freedom belongs to ‘We the People,’ not ‘They the Politicians.’

  11. The only truth and nothing but the truth is that access to computers and the Internet have made it really easy to rant. It’s made everyone overly opinionated and now poets. oh my lord. Where has this world come to.

  12. Alex,

    አትጥላኝ በወሬ ሳይጣራ ነገሬ
    አትንገር ብየ ብነግረው እንዳትነግር ብሎ ነገረው
    አትፍራ ጋብዘኝ አትናገር ሸኘኝ
    አቺም ቂጥ ሆና ስንጥቅ ተበጀላት
    አንተን ያመነ ጉም የዘገነ
    አንተም አራዳ እኔም አራዳ ምን ያጣላናል በሰው በረንዳ
    አንተ ውለታ ቀጣሪ ቢለው አንተ አስቀጣሪ አለው

    “There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe,” argues Friedrich Nietzsche. “There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them.”

    Frankly I don’t really get you. ትንሽ እንቆቅልሽ ሆንክብኅ

  13. Dear Professor Al,

    Many thanks for your poem and ongoing relentless effort supporting your motherland . You are real Ethiopian hero.

    Woyane banda traitors will all pay the price soon.

    Ethiopia will prevail with the leadership of Nobel Lauret PM Abeiy!

    Down with blood trusty mercinaries Geraba, Jawar, Merrara and cohorts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.