On Shaking Hands Poem by Alexander Raju

On Shaking Hands

It was spontaneous; his hand he extended,
I took it, embarrassed of protocol,
I felt cool, as if I were shaking hand
With eighty five millions of Ethiopians!

Abiy Ahmed*, the new prime minister,
Was ascending the steps to the terrace
Of our university building, new,
With his crew, hosts and security guards.

Within no time Isaias** too followed
What his counterpart did, I took his hand;
It was a victory for Ethiopia
And Eritrea, a compromise long yearned.

I knew not how I happened to be there,
Very near to the steps that they could not miss
My presence, nor others who followed him,
There was in their eyes a sort of surprise!

Perhaps, he thought I was a foreigner safe,
A revered professor serving his land;
I stood like John the Baptist in Jordan,
Watching Jesus approach to be baptized!

He knew not I was the writer who dreamed
The future of his country in good words,
For my novel*** predicted Ethiopia
As the most progressive in Africa!

He brought the neighbouring countries together,
At his smile the ego of those rulers
Melted as if snow under a warm sun,
A sign of dawn on the Horn of Africa!

I hear the cheerful shouts of my students,
"Abiy...Abiy"" like in the football ground,
Their only hope depends on him, I wish
Him the best, to make our Ethiopia First!

Dr Abiy Ahmed is the popular Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
Col. Isaias Afwerki is the President of Eritrea; he was mentioned in my novel Where They Shattered His Green Dreams, as a friend of Col. Muamer Gaddafi of Libya.
My novel, And Still Plays the Abyssinian Damsel on her Dulcimer is based on the history and legends of Ethiopia.

Gondar (Ethiopia) , November 9,2018.

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