Review — NATURE’S POETRY by Eldon Katter (Ethiopia)


Nature’s Poetry
by Eldon Katter (Ethiopia 1962–64)
112 pages
July 2018
$5.99 (paperback)


A Review

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 and his wife Haimanot

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.


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