by Andrew Tadross (Ethiopia 2011–13)
This assemblage of words is about a man I feel I know.
After seeing the way his words flow, off the page and into my mind
Named Eldon, he’s lived a life of creation
From our nation to many others he’s roamed
He joined the Peace Corps back in 1962
With his wife Adrienne, before cell phones and email and what’sapp
Teaching in Harar and Uganda, sketching the countryside as he went along
He kept drawing and painting, collaging, and writing his poems
From his days in the bush, to his 8th decade, he wrote
About nature and cats and birds and beaches, trees, and seasons
On places . . . domestic as Indiana, as a foreign as Vietnam
The name of the book is Nature’s Poetry, 100 pages long
His expressions are natural, and his verses are free
Without many rhymes or complicated words,
But wisdom of thoughts, reflections, observations, and ideas
About landscape, and the connections we make, and what makes us human
How to craft paper, sketch a memory, to listen, look, and feel
How many things he’s seen in 80 years, what a fascinating life!
The Nile, the Cape, the Mekong, and the Tetons
Landforms. Ecosystems. Millions of years in the making.
Earth’s creatures big, small, rare, and common
From the wild wildebeest to his feline Sheba
Eldon celebrates their unique forms, and sensations, and laments
The human tendency to destroy
His pictures compliment his poems, but I wish they were in color
For if they were, I would surely be inspired to paint
But this book of words and verses, has moved me,
To write a poem – my very first – or maybe you will
Draw bird, pen a letter, take a walk if it makes you feel better
This book will be on my nightstand, when I need to connect
With a world that is real, that inspires us to imagine
What is here to appreciate and to protect.
Andrew Tadross is a practicing landscape architect. He is co-author of several language guides that are helpful for English speakers learning Amharic, Tigrinya, or Afan Oromo.