Ethiopianism Poetics: Checkout the poetry of Garvey

Ethiopianism Poetics:   Checkout the poetry of Garvey below!
On this date on October 18th, 1971, Jamaica introduced its first annual National Hero’s Day.  The annual event would be declared every third Monday in October and it’s first National Hero would be declared Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Garvey(1887-1940) has considered the most important contributors to the emancipation movement of the first half of the twentieth century.  Garvey’s fiery and often controversial speeches often included mention of the word and the nation Ethiopia.  Garvey would contribute to the development of a deep and positive relationship between Ethiopia and Jamaica.  Garvey has long been regarded as a major contributor in the evolution of the Rastarfarianism movement, and is considered its prophet. Ironically, Garvey became one of Emperor Haile Selassie’s most formidable critics of the day.
To celebrate this phenomenal individual I have included three poems Garvey wrote pertaining to Ethiopia. They are, respectively, “Ras Nasibu of Ogaden”, “Ras Desta”, and “The Rallying Call.”


Ras Nasibu Of Ogaden
By Marcus Garvey

A king has fallen on the field-
The field of war, but not by shot,
Nor even through a broken shield:
He died in exile-awful lot!
Ras Nasibu of Ogaden
Is he-the greatest of his tribe-
The man who led his valiant men
With Wehib Pasha at his side.

fie died in Switzerland-afar,
Of broken heart in his exile:
He saw the end of that sad war
In which he fought without a smile.
The Brute of Italy had sent
His liquid flames of steady death
And tanks that ploughed and also rent
The land and stole the hero’s breath.

This Mussolini, vile of heart,
Who plagues the world with devil tricks,
Has caused a king to lose his part
In building glory with his bricks.
The dream of Abyssinia, great,
Was dear to Nasibu’s own heart;
But he has met an awful fate,
And failed in this to do his part.

The Negroes of the world shall wait
To take their stand against the foe,,
And when they fight to win their State
They’ll make Italians drink their woe.
A Fascist king shall never rule
The Blacks of all the lands we know:
The Negro shall be no foot-stool,
But give to all the seeds they sow.

Let’s honour Nasibu’s fair name,
And damn the Mussolini tribe:
This Abyssinian’s splendid fame
Shall live through pen of Negro scribe.
Look out for time, that’s comin’ soon,
To strike Italian Fascists down:
To us ’twill be a glorious boon
To have them sprawling on the ground.


Ras Desta
By Marcus Garvey

The flow’r of a nation’s strength
Had thrown their valour and their might
Against the charging hordes of death
In history’s most unequal fight!
One man remained-the last of them-
To stand for Ethiopia:
All else surrendered, died or fled
But, he, the lion-hearted-Ras Desta.

Graziani, Italian butcher
Had valiant Desta quickly shot,
To seal his lips and tie his hands
In fear of what he called a plot.
With death of such a noble man,
A reign has passed to history;
But time will bring to us again
More men to fight for victory.



A Rallying Song
By Mar us Garvey

1. Oh glorious race of mighty men,
The homeland calls to you;
Our fathers wrought with faith divine,
So let us march in line. (Refrain)

2. If foe we meet across the way,
Our courage hold on high,
For Victory is near at hand,
So march ye with the band.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc

3. Old Africa is calling you,
So wave the banner high;
No foe shall win the glorious day,
Shout ye, and march and pray.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc.

4. Our God is leading us away,
And land and seas divide,
For hosts are here in royal form,
March on and fear no storm.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc.

5. New Africa beholds the sight,
The world will tremble then,
Good men of might will worship God
And bless the heaving sod.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc.

6. Tell the people everywhere you go,
“The day is here again,”
The Ethiopian’s God appears
To deal with all affairs.

– 1934
(Photo: Marcus Garvey never visited Ethiopia)


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