Posted by: Dr. Y. | December 9, 2011

Fire and Rhythm (Fogo e ritmo) by Agostinho Neto

Agostinho Neto

Agostinho Neto

Agostinho Neto was the a medical doctor, a poet, and most importantly the first president of Angola. Today, I would like you to sit back and enjoy a poem written by this great African leader

Fogo e ritmo

Sons de grilhetas nas estradas

cantos de pássaros

sob a verdura úmida das florestas

frescura na sinfonia adocicada

dos coqueirais


fogo no capim

fogo sobre o quente das chapas do Cayatte.

Caminhos largos

cheios de gente cheios de gente

em êxodo de toda a parte

caminhos largos para os horizontes fechados

mas caminhos

caminhos abertos por cima

da impossibilidade dos braços.





Ritmo na luz

ritmo na cor

ritmo no movimento

ritmo nas gretas sangrentas dos pés descalços

ritmo nas unhas descarnadas

Mas ritmo


Ó vozes dolorosas de África!


Fire and rhythm

The sound of chains on the roads

the songs of birds

under the humid greenery of the forest

freshness in the smooth symphony

of the palm trees


fire on the grass

fire on the heat of the Cayatte plains

Wide paths

full of people full of people

an exodus from everywhere

wide paths to closed horizons

but paths

paths open atop

the impossibility of arm



tum tum


Rhythm in light

rhythm in color

rhythm in movement

rhythm in the bloody

cracks of bare feet

rhythm on torn nails

yet rhythm


Oh painful African voices




  1. […] Neto who was born on this special day.  To mark this day, and to celebrate in style, I propose another poem from Angola’s greatest poet, President Neto himself.  Enjoy! (I translated from Portuguese […]


  2. […] poems, but also revolutionary essays.  Agostinho Neto, the first president of Angola, also wrote poetry, just as Senegal’s first president Leopold Sedar Senghor.  So it seems quite natural to find […]


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