Friday, 3 August 2018

The Seed is in Me - José Craveirinha

Dead or living
the seed is in me
in the universal whiteness of my bones

All feel
uneasiness
at the undoubted whiteness of my bones
white as the breasts of Ingrids or Marias
in Scandinavian lands
or in Polana the smart quarter
of my old native town.

All feel
uneasiness
that the mingling in my veins should be
blood from the blood of every blood
and instead of the peace ineffable of pure and simple birth
and a pure and simple death
breed a rash of complexes
from the seed of my bones.

But a night with the massaleiras heavy with green fruit
batuques swirl above the sweating stones
and the tears of rivers

All feel
uneasiness
at the white seed in me
breeding a rash inflamed with malediction.

And one day
will come all the Marias of the distant nations
penitent or no
weeping
laughing
or loving to the rhythm of a song

To say to my bones
forgive us, brother.

José Craveirinha (1922 - 2003) Mozambique
Source: Modern poetry from Africa by Gerald Moore, Penguin, 1963

  • massaleiras - bush thorny the family of loganiáceas (Strychnos spinosa)
  • Batuque - a music and dance genre from Cape Verde

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