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The Hoopoe’s Call

I will carry you on my back, wrapped in a dream.

(Come!) It called again. He squinted his eyes toward the dappling shadows The trees made with their leaves and branches, Searching tree by tree for something half-hidden, half-seen ...

The Hoopoe’s Call
(Harken!)
He heard a call from the branches of a tree
Somewhere in the woods along the path he walked,
Stick in hand to steady his steps
Like a shepherd’s staff.
But where?
He looked around to see
Who or what had made that call,
Almost child-like, but not quite.
(Come!)
It called again.
He squinted his eyes toward the dappling shadows
The trees made with their leaves and branches,
Searching tree by tree for something half-hidden, half-seen,
And then he spied him –
(Hope!)
He said, “Hope, oh! O hope!
The hoopoe called,
Come follow me
And I will take you to Sheba,
Young Solomon, my sire,
For she’s the most beautiful queen in all of Africa!

The young man was only at the beginning of his wisdom then
But he knew the language of the hoopoe and his heart grew large.
Still, he asked, you can fly I can only walk or run –
How am I to follow you?
I will carry you on my back, wrapped in a dream.


The young and future king agreed
And instantly fell into the depths of slumber.
The hoopoe slung the dreaming youth over his back
And flew with his weightless load to Azeba
In the Kingdom of Aksum, seven days distant.
On the seventh day, the bird flew through the open window
Of Makeda’s palace in Azeba.
Makeda’s beauty was uncontested in all of Aksum
But when her eyes saw how fair was the dreaming youth
On the hoopoe’s back, she fell hopelessly in love.
The hoopoe said fret not fair queen,
He dreams of you!
Come to him in distant Jerusalem where he waits!

In Solomon’s dream, he saw Makeda’s sublime face
At the center of a whirlpool swirling round him.
The bird turned around and flew homeward.
When Makeda finally came to Jerusalem,
Solomon was King as prophesized by the hoopoe
And had built the Temple and a palace on Mount Moriah.
Although he had a thousand wives, he pined for Makeda of Sheba.
She came with six thousand camels
Bearing more gold and spices than Solomon had ever seen,
All of which were gifts for him.
Makeda stood in all her beauty before King Solomon
Who said, I’ve dreamed of you every night
Since first I learned to dream.
Makeda answered, as I have dreamed of you
Those same nights since the hoopoe
Brought you dreaming to me.
That same night they dreamed together,
Arms and legs entwined, a small seed
Of their son who would be called Menelik.
In the morning when the sun rose over the hills of Moab,
Solomon gave Makeda a ring
To signify their willing enslavement to each other
But before she left Jerusalem for Azeba,
A jealous wife of Solomon bribed a priest
To hide the Holiest of Holies,
The Ark of the Covenant,
On the back of one of the camels in Makeda’s train
Unbeknownst to Makeda or Solomon.
When she reached the shores of the Red Sea
A storm raged, making the waters
As treacherous as the wives of Solomon,
But because the Holy Ark rode in her train
She crossed the sea without event.
Makeda, Queen of Sheba, reached her capital, Azeba,
Where she raised her son, Menelik, of Solomon’s seed,
And continued ruling her people during the day,
But at night she dreamed of Jerusalem’s king
And he of her until the day she died.
Makeda’s wizened body was buried at Axum
And the Holy Ark was buried under the shifting sands of time.


That is how, sons and daughters of the land of promises,
The wise King Solomon first met his beloved Queen of Sheba
Of the ancient land of Kush, which today is known as Ethiopia
And whose men and women are still the loveliest in the world.


The hoopoe hopped onto another branch
And flew to a further tree where perched another bird,
And both took off somewhere beyond my ken.


I put my pen and notebook back in my homely pouch
And Daisy led the way we knew and loved
Homeward.


                                                                May 27, 2019

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