Poetry Around the World

“I believed I wanted to be a poet, but deep down, I just wanted to be a poem.”

~ Jaime Gil de Biedma

“Yo creía que quería ser poeta, pero en el fondo quería ser poema.”
~ Jaime Gil de Biedma

“Poetry is like a bird. It ignores all frontiers.”

~ Yevgeny Yevtushenko

[Traveler, your footprints]

Traveler, your footprints

are the only road, nothing else.

Traveler, there is no road;

you make your own path as you walk.

As you walk, you make your own road,

and when you look back

you see the path

you will never travel again.

Traveler, there is no road;

only a ship’s wake on the sea.



Who Needs a Story?

I needed a story

And asked myself all day –

What can I write?

It kept me awake all night –

What do I have to say?

I emptied so many words

And Idea out of my brain

It would have floated away

If not tied to my heart.

Now I needed art.

Paper and pen in hand,

Tomorrow I would start . . .

But wait.

What is it all about?

Do I really need a story?

All this time and hard work –

For what?

I hate myself for thinking this.

I already have a story

That nobody knows and it’s great –

I am the story. 

By Ghirmai Negash

From the book, Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre, and Arabic,

Edited by Charles Cantalupo and Ghirmai Negash