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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)

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Emerging culture by media type -> Poems 46 resources (Edited by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Bernard McGuirk.)

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Culture: Mission of art

Author:

Ademar Bogo

Title:

The art of sowing

Poetry is the passionate sigh that springs as naturally as perfumed breath from the mouth of those that dare to bear their bodies firmly striding, to build the future where coming generations will walk in turn.

As our legacy to those to be born, we'll leave for them to know in their hearts
the perfume of each step we've taken
like open scars in every lifetime.

Only whoever knows how to feel and to inherit poetry already produced by nature and humanity can produce poetry at all. And the heart alerts the marcher by saying that:

a flower is blooming
a tree is sleeping
a mountain is shouting.
there are cloud and rainbow
there are tenderness and passion
there are hunger, people dying
there is sorrow in the song.
there are open lips smiling
there are people on the march
there are wars in these times
there's moonlight here in the sertão(1).
there are serenaders singing
there are animals coupling
there are dreams in the heart...

Poetry is like the sea, which turns its power to humility, laying itself at the foot of the mountains, hoping that the sweet water of the hills will come to slake its thirst. The sea does not destroy the mountain, for it knows it would have nowhere to lay its head whenever it wanted to rest from the lapping of the waves. So, like poetry, it preserves life so that life can be fed by it.

Beauty, tired, slipped away, to rest in the encampments of the Sem Terra, waiting for the land to give back space for seeds of beauty to sprout with sensitivity, to sow a future of peace and solidarity.

Neruda(2), Drummond(3), João Cabral(4), Marighella(5), Casaldáliga(6)... are born again in the shade of black plastic, transformed into dreams of those who learned to love life, staring at an imaginary point of the utopian horizon, where rests the hour of their arrival.

We are here. We want to dream and to show what beauties lurk in the labyrinths of our being.

One day we shall understand the flowers, when they tell us that only those that don't fear flowering can give off a perfume.

1 Editor's note: Sertão/ Backlands: 'A sparsely populated region of the interior [of Brazil], especially the driest area, the caatinga [region covered with brushwood], connected to the cattle cycle, where old customs and traditions persist' (from the Dicionário Houaiss da Língua Portuguesa, Rio de Janeiro: Editora Objetiva, 2001).

2 Editor's note: Neruda (Pablo Neruda): poet, Chilean ambassador, born in 1904, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1971, died 1973, a few days after the assassination of President Salvador Allende. His early poetry, noted for its sensuality and love themes, like Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair), 1924, changed after his experience in the Spanish Civil War, which he tells of in the collection España en el corazón (Spain in the Heart), 1938. After this major departure, he embraced Marxism, as can be seen in Canto en Estalingrado (Song in Stalingrad), 1942.

3 Editor's note: Drummond (Carlos Drummond de Andrade): poet born in Minas Gerais in 1902. From his long, diverse, and prolific literary career, one may cite Brejo das Almas (Swamp of Souls), 1934, and Sentimento do Mundo (Feeling of the World), 1940, in which the wish for solidarity with human beings is evident.

4 Editor's note: João Cabral de Melo Neto: poet and diplomat, born in Recife, Pernambuco, in 1920. His narrative poem Morte e vida severina (Death and Life of Severino), is sub-titled Auto de Natal pernambucano. Written in 1954-55, it is one of the foremost works in Brazilian literature to treat the land problem.

5 Editor's note: Marighella (Carlos Marighella, 1911-1969): Brazilian revolutionary, the important leader of the armed struggle against the military dictatorship. His forty years of militancy began with the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), with which he broke in 1968. He was the national founder and director of the Ação Libertadora Nacional - ALN (National Liberation Action), an armed organization whose name echoes the revolutionary spirit of the Aliança Nacional Libertadora - ANL (National Liberation Alliance) commanded by Luís Carlos Prestes. Marighella was assassinated at 57 by the dictatorship (1969).

6 Editor's note: Casaldáliga (D. Pedro Maria Casaldáliga): Bishop of Spanish origin, prelate of São Félix do Araguaia, in Mato Grosso, a witness of the growing number of poor squatters in a context of conflict and killing for land. His bilingual Antologia retirante (Migrant Anthology) was published during the dictatorship (1978) by the Editora Civilização Brasileira. His poems express his commitment to the oppressed.

Date:

November 2002

Resource ID:

ARTOFSOW397

Anthology of poems
A first-hand selection, unpublished in Brazil and elsewhere. A militant poetics; the social and political importance of the poet-singer (cantador), the construction of a canon of exclusion; the landless woman; the theme of death as life's horizon; the pedagogic project.
Else R P Vieira

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