POETRY

Tafal

 

Il-Mulej mhux il-bniedem biss

sawwar mit-trab tal-art

u ta l-ħajja.

 

Mit-tajn li tella’ l-fuħħari

qata’ daqs ta’ bniedem

skolpa t-torso u r-ras,

l-idejn u s-saqajn,

naqqax b’formatur il-wiċċ.

Il-fattizzi. Sal-iżgħar dettall.

 

U għal kull xiber, sura:

daqqa bajda u

daqqa ħamra u

daqqa sewda.

Mit-tafal siliċiku,

xi minn daqqiet kalkarju,

jew ferruġinu

b’ossidu tal-ħadid,

sawwar il-Mulej Alla l-bniedem

fuq it-torn tal-pala t’idu.

 

Imbagħad, mill-għodda tiegħu

naqqa l-bċejjeċ żejda tat-tafal,

u remiehom mal-art.

 

Xħin nefaħ fi mnifsejh

– fix-xogħol ta’ jdejh –

u tah il-ħajja

mhux il-bnedmin biss fetħu għajnejhom,

iżda wkoll kull biċċa tafl’oħra,

kull biċċa tkanġi skont l-iradi,

ġilditha bin-nemex,

bajda jew sewda jew ħamra.

 

Kull biċċa tafal

(laħam ieħor mintagħna)

saret patata.

 

 

 

Clay

 

It wasn’t just man that God created

from earthen dust and gave him life.

 

The clayman moulded the shape of man

from clay that he’d brought up.

The torso and head sculpted,

the face chiseled.

Its features. To the smallest detail.

 

For every span, a figure:

White, at times, then

red and

sometimes black.

From silicic clay,

at times calcareous

or ferruginous

with iron oxide,

God lathed man

on the palm of his hand.

 

From his tools he then removed the extra bits

discarding them.

 

As he breathed down the nostrils

  • at his creation –

he gave him life and

it wasn’t just man who opened his eyes

but also every piece of clay,

each piece changing colour, echoing the lands,

its skin freckled,

white or black or red.

 

Every chunk of clay

(our flesh)

becomes potatoes.

 

Translated from the Maltese by Claudia Gauci