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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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Cultural categories by media type: The media specificity of landless cultural expression.

Cultural category:

 History: Marches, defining moments, congresses

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History: Massacres and martyrs


Ademar Bogo


Dream and time (to 15 years of the MST)

The dream comes of age
Planted on a boldness cradling
Life for the determined warrior born,
Fifteen years ago in time and more in dreams
Since the people's voices sought to claim the land
And make of peace a force for making war.
Battles mark the days
Books mark the history
Anthems mark the joys.
Tears too are part of this long march
Ever watering the dream so valiant
Of those convinced that in sowing blood they'd be born again
That in every step the people made
In its victories it would live forever.

And the land like a soft sheet spreads
Offering its moistened lap
Showing still the last battle's scars.

With marks of beleaguered latifundia
Arise: men, women and children
Tracing with a single sigh their line of fate
And marking their own hands
With callouses that dignify them.

It's the land that rescues human beings
In conscience planting
Courage and resistance
Sowing solidarity.
Mantles of scorching plastic unfurl
As they form their cities without walls
and without the woe of a wandering people
Each designing a place of one's own
Leaving ever-open a door to the horizon
Where stands their pride-filled banner
Calling in its dance for all to stride on.

Now on the land inscribed with hoes
Words forming fullness and unity
No more hunger no more sorrows
The dried up valley will recover its beauty
And its voice calls out in praise of freedom

There'll be no faces happier
Than those imbued with values rooted in
and springing from the joyous heart
Of dream and passion
That each of us
Bears planted in our breast.

Poems : Edited by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Bernard McGuirk.


November 2002

Resource ID:


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A first-hand selection, unpublished in Brazil and elsewhere.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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