Poem: Monagambé

Monagambé (lit. the son of the burden, the carrier of loads, cheap labor) written by António Jacinto (1924–1991), Poet and revolutionary from Angola

In this great plantation, there’s no rain.

The sweat from my brow waters the crop.

In this great plantation, the coffee has grown

And this scarlet of cherry

Are drops of my blood turned to juice.

The coffee will be roasted

And crushed

And will turn black, black with the color of “contradiction”.

Black with the color of “contradiction”!

Ask the birds singing,

The wandering brooks

And the island’s tall wind: Who wakes up early in the morning?

Who labors? Who carries the canvas sacks? and the loaves of bread across the long road?

Who harvests and gets paid with contempt? With rotten corn, with spoilt fish?

With rags for clothes, with fifty angolares, Beaten, so he does not speak? Who? Who makes amber grow?

And the orange

Who? Who pays the master, so he can buy Cars, machines, women And negro heads for labor?

Who gives the white man the good life The big belly, the money? Who?

And the birds singing

The wandering brooks

And the island’s tall wind

Will answer: Monagambé…. Oh, let me climb on the date trees

And drink the wine of cocoa

And get drunk with the wine, forget Monagambé…