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Welcome to the The Government of Timor-Leste
Portuguese Tetum
Welcome to the The Government of Timor-Leste

Culture: Xanana Gusmao, President Poet

Xanana Gusmao has written poetry since his youth. He continued to write through the difficult years of resistance during the Indonesian occupation, and during his time in prison in Indonesia.

"I am at war
the sky is not mine
I am at war
the sea is not mine,
I am at war
and life is won only
in death…
In the hope of regaining
my sea!"
"Grandfather Crocodile"

From the depths of the ocean
a crocodile in search of a destiny
spied the pool of light, and there he surfaced

Then wearily, he stretched himself out
in time
and his lumpy hide was transformed
into a mountain range
where people were born
and where people died

Grandfather crocodile

- the legend says
and who am I to disbelieve
that he is Timor!

"Oh! Freedom!"

If I could only
in the cold mornings
wake up shivering
beaten by the gale
which opens for me the curtain of the sky,
and see, from the top of my hills,
the purple painting of a disturbed sunrise
east of Timor

If I could only
in the scorching suns
ride in raptures
towards the finding of myself
in the serene plains of the pasture,
and feel the smell of animals
drinking from the springs
which would murmur in the air,
legends of Timor

"Oh! Freedom!"(Continued)

If I could only
in the calm afternoons
feel that tiredness
of the sensuous nature
stretching itself in its own sweat
and listen to the telling of the wearinesses
within the laughters
of the naked barefoot children
of all Timor

If I could only
at the darkening of the waves
walk by the sand
absorbed in myself
in the wet rapture of the breeze
and touch the immensity of the sea
in a breath of soul
which let me dream the future
of the island of Timor


Maubere People,
Maubere, child of East Timor,
tear open your belly,
your cravings,
ruts of neglect, of anguish, of oppression,
and hurl them to the wind,
to your furthest brother,
in the secret places of the sacred land,
of your parents, of your children,
of your grandparents, of your grandchildren...

"Maubere" (Continued)

Maubere People,
clench your fists,
The hour is your's, Maubere!
And your defiance will bring down
the walls of your own enslavement!…

Maubere People,
confront and face yourself in the long march of liberation.
Liberate yourself!
Be strong!…Be Maubere.

""My Sea of Timor"

Immersed in my thoughts
I was suddenly shaken

From the sea, my sea,
out of the bellies of ships,
tremors came

I looked at the erupting sky,
and the size of the sea were
cries of agony
the gentle breeze
the smell of dust and blood
the kiss of the foam
the death-rattle
the sea's slumber.
the pebbles of the gravestone
and the pretty shells
the destiny of the Homeland!