Jose Craveirinha

A Spring of Bullets

I take hold of
My last humiliation
And without leaving my land
I emigrate to the North of Mozambique
With a spring of bullets on my shoulder.

And there
In the North I dine on roots
I drink the remains of rain where animals drink
During the rest-hour, instead of my spring of bullets
I take the handle of my spring of maize
And clear a plot, or if necessary
I crawl on my elbows
And on my knees


Hidden in position in the middle of the bush
With my spring of bullets aimed
I make the reddest flowering flowers
Sprout on the dress-jacket of the Captain,
The hard price of our beautiful
Freedom reconquered
With shots!

Translation by Stephen Gray and Luis Rafael

Jose Craveirinha was born in Maputo, Mozambique, in 1922. He has published four collections in Portuguese, and won the Camoens Prize, the premiere Portuguese-language award, for his lifelong dedication to poetry. Craveirinha is considered to be Mozambique's foremost writer.

The Journal of African Travel-Writing, Number 2, March 1997 (p. 66).

Copyright © 1997 The Journal of African Travel-Writing