Portrait of a convict as a young man

Reading of Fretilin Central Committee members’ visit to Rogério Lobato in prison, I suddenly remembered that I possessed some of Rogério’s poetry. He was a quite frequent contributor to the church’s Seará magazine in the late 1960s. He created a part called “Cantinho dos Jovens” (The Youth’s Corner). He was a shining star at seminary in Dare.

Perhaps the fifth anniversary of the restoration of Timor Leste’s independence is a time to reflect, and what better way than to read young Rogério’s desassossego, or disquiet.
Here is one of young Rogério’s “deeper” poems from Seará July 1969:

“Não sei”

Algo de mistério eu sinto.
Uma bruma de saudade
Esta minha alma inunda.

Sonho não é,
Nem é ilusão;
Não sei se é,
Mas talvez não…

Ela aqui fica
Ao meu lado
Esta saudade
Do passado.

Ignoro também
O que a minha alma tem
Que me deixa não sei como…
Que me leva não sei aonde…
E me atormenta não sei porque…


[my translation]

“I don’t know”

Something mysterious I’m feeling.
My soul filled with
A mist of nostalgia.
Dream it is not,
Nor illusion;
I do not know if that is it,
But perhaps not…

It rests here
by my side
This nostalgia
for the past.

I also do not know
What is troubling my soul
That leaves me I know not how…
That it takes me I know not where…
And that torments me I know not why…


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