POETRY

Ix-xitwa u l-patata

 

Hekk kif ftaħna

l-purtieri tad-dwieli

u s-separji tas-sekli,

sibna piramida.

 

U fil-piramida sibna storja

imnaqqxa f’sekwenza kwadri,

tisfida s-sangisugi tas-snin

u l-gravità fil-bir tal-memorja.

 

Rakkont ta’ kif kull sena,

fil-lejl tat-tukan l-ikħal,

il-kap tal-raħal kien jitla’

l-muntanja jsalva ’l niesu.

 

Hemm fuq, fit-tempju

joqtol il-lama mmarkata

u jerħilha tinħall f’banju

mimli deheb imdewweb.

 

Kien imbagħad jaħraq

ponn weraq tal-koka

u jħalli d-duħħan jofroħ,

jitla’ l-hanan pacha.

 

Il-foga kienet toħlom

apu b’par dirgħajn palun

li jżellaqlu żerriegħa

lewn ix-xewqa għall-għajxien.

 

Ma’ tmiem il-missjoni

kien iħawwilha ħerqan

mar-raħħala, jittamaw

li l-pjanta tixpakka l-qoxra.

 

U f’xitwa li tinsa ’l-istonku

biex tinnamra mal-mewt,

il-pjanta kienet tagħtihom

it-tama ppakkjata f’patata.

 

Patata, li fuq il-pedestall

ġgant ta’ Virachocha,

daqqiet tisfar ambra,

daqqiet tiħmar vulkan

 

iżżoqq bis-sħana lir-raħħala

imħaxkna flieles madwarha,

jgħannu l-grazzi u l-le titlaqni

lill-allat, u lix-xorti tibdel il-kuluri.

 

Dan sakemm għal sena oħra

x-xitwa tħalli l-mewt waħidha,

ħa tmur taħdem ir-raba’ ta’ ħutha

u tiftaħ is-separju għall-istaġun li jmiss.

 

 

 

Winter and potatoes

 

As the curtain of vines lifted,

disclosing centuries of old,

a pyramid appeared.

 

In it we found a story

engraved in a series of sketches,

defying the years eating away

and gravity in memory’s cistern.

 

An account of how each year,

in the night of the blue toucan,

the chief of the village would climb up

the mountain to save his people.

 

Up in the temple

he’d kill the marked llama,

let it melt in a basin

of molten gold.

 

Then he’d burn a bunch of

coca leaves

letting the smoke expand,

reaching up – a heavenly hanan pacha.

 

Smoky dreams of an apu,

his arms, long and slender,

furtively handing him potato seeds,

the colour of life’s desire.

 

At the end of the mission

he’d ardently plant it with the villagers,

hoping potatoes would grow.

 

In a winter, with no regard for hunger,

that makes love to death,

hope comes in stacks

as potatoes.

 

Potatoes set on a gigantic pedestal

in honour of Virachocha,

glowing amber yellow at times

or volcanic red,

 

feeding warmth to all the villagers

gathered closely around,

chanting thanks and abandon-us-not

to the gods and colour-changing fate.

 

Until another year,

winter forsakes death,

works the crops of her siblings

and brings forth yet another season.

 

Translated from the Maltese by Claudia Gauci