Menen – Ian Dean

As far as I can see I admire you,

And so you have inadvertently lead me into folly.

But how could you, that has said so little,

Lead so passionately without even speaking?


As misunderstood as the worth of diamond

The thought of speech of the beauty not siren.


Such a note that is yet unsung;

I wish to hear your native tongue

Which I have been told is nothing more than

What can be found, and has been, here


Regardless of how shallow informant’s depth

Your vibrant face is full of breath

As brown as coffee of your country

I found you new as herder Kaldi


And often, I know, I’ll meet your face

A habesha girl with hair of grace,

That shelters you from eyes of envy,

Rests as soft as your skins consistency


As passionate as my perceived bestiality,

I have yet to know of your personality.


Past waves of tef that equal nigh

The count of stars found in your eyes

Had cursed men and sent to die!

They look to much in glaring skies.


Will you take me as am?

Consider despite a foreign man,

Or maybe was it yet my plan

That led me here by my hand?

Could you ever gave the damn,

To hush the world and take my hand?


5 thoughts on “Menen – Ian Dean

  1. Alexandra Mayer says:

    Hello! I really admire this site and would love to be a part of it. I am a 20 year old with a passion for poetry. I read on “Internships.com, a Chegg service” that you are looking for people to post creative writing weekly? I am very interested in doing so. I am obviously, more than willing to submit some work so that you may evaluate my writing. Thanks!
    Alex (:


      • Alexandra Mayer says:

        Oh no! I thought I replied to the site entirely, not to this poem specifically! I feel so disrespectful.

        Regarding Menen, I really love the lines:
        “I wish to hear your native tongue
        Which I have been told is nothing more than
        What can be found, and has been, here”

        At first, these lines spoke to my fear of the banal and the idea of an unoriginal identity. However, as I continued to read, the words took on new meaning. They appeared, to me, almost as an appreciation for history and for the culture and ancestry that helps create us.

        I’m very intrigued by this poem. It’s almost as if I get a glimpse not only into a personal love story, but also into a historical context and the myriad of stories which surround said context. I’d love to hear more about the inspiration behind this poem and your writing process!

        Thanks for sharing.


  2. Ian Dean says:

    The inspiration from the poem originated with a football game I went to in the spring , and at this particular game I saw a girl, who of course was ethnic by most American standards, who happened to be the friend of my best friend who is also a girl. I left the game sort of early and while I was waiting for my ride I called my aforementioned friend was in the stadium. I called to detail just how wonderstruck I was of this Ethiopian girl. My friend remarked that she was very shy and often standoffish against any relationship with anyone that wasn’t and isn’t strictly platonic. I spent the two or three days studying the culture of the country and asking my friend, who is also a writer, about the complexities of the girl’s personality and anything at all that would make poem feel more natural and specific. The end product is the result of about 14 or 16 drafts, and of course I had my friend read it and she said it was spot-on description of the girl. i’m sorry if that is too descriptive or too vague, but I’m sure if you have anymore comments or questions you will ask me.


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