St. Abune Aregawi
Long, long ago, or so I’ve heard,
Nine holy men from Syria came
Intent to bring God’s Holy Word
And spread the same in Heaven’s name
Throughout the godless lands of Tigray;
They lived by vows, they did not marry,
But every day they knelt to pray
Especially Abune Aregawi.
He led them by his good example,
A man of God in every way
With vices none and virtues ample.
Some years went by but then one day
St. Abune Aregawi thought
He’d go and found a monastery:
It had to be a quiet spot,
Uncrowded and temptation-free.
He saw a place on top of a crag
Ideal for prayer and meditation.
Unluckily there was a snag —
No way up save levitation!
He knelt upon his knees to pray
(Until they both began to ache)
That God would help him find a way,
So God produced a giant snake
To do the job and no mistake
For it was half a kilometre
In length at least, for pity’s sake!
Believe you me, or ask St. Peter.
Anyways this snake let down its tail
And slid it round old Abune’s waist
(At this the saint turned rather pale
To find himself so tight embraced) .
But before you could say “Jack Robinson”
St. Abune found himself up high
On top of the cliff and the job was done
With the help of God it was easy as pie!
St. Abune called this holy place
Debra Damo and nowadays
All who tread this holy space
Must climb a rope and not use stairs.
So let us praise this holy man
Who founded Debra Damo
In the year A.D.501
Some fifteen hundred years ago.
His nigdet is for rich and poor
Upon the 14th of October
So all go easy on the suwa
And for St.Abune’s sake, stay sober.
Note: St. Abune Aregawi was an early Ethiopian Christian saint who founded the ancient monastery of Debra Damo. Legend has it that he chose the site at the top of an inaccessible cliff but was only able to gain access to it when, in answer to his prayers, at God's behest a giant snake lowered itself to pick him up and place him on top of the cliff. To this day, access to this ancient monastery (restricted to men and male animals) involves climbing up a rope suspended from the top of the cliff. 'Nigdet' is a saint's feastday; 'suwa' is a kind of home-made beer served at such feasts.
Pete Crowther's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (St. Abune Aregawi by Pete Crowther )
- Prohibited passions, Luca Menin
- When Life Turns Topsyturvy, Toshie Nohara
- Oneiros, Don Prem Legaspi
- Ah, me!, Frank Avon
- The man and the mirror, Melikhaya Zagagana
- Restive journey away from home, Melikhaya Zagagana
- Paralysis Agitans, Steve Lang
- Think Me On That Train, Susan Lacovara
- Lovers, Tex T Sarnie
- The Big Picture, Tex T Sarnie
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
- Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala'
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)