POETRY

Yakhanit batata

Stju tal-patata

 

Kilo patata

Ja arti,

f’liema ħamrija nagħżaq

biex insib patata waħda

mhux imdemmija?

Ara! Qed jitimgħuha

lis-suldati armati,

filwaqt li wliedna jteftfu

sider ommhom niexef,

joħolmu li jaraw sħaba

forma ta’ patata.

 

Nofs kilo xikel tal-ħaruf dissussat

Ħaduna bħall-ħrief għall-qatla

ħadd ma jgħodd kemm-il għadma xxaqqet

jew kemm-il karba mietek ħesrem f’ħalq ommha.

 

Ftit tursin imqatta’

Mgħadnix inxomm iż- ża’tar, nagħnieħ u tursin ifewwaħ.

Minflok inxomm biss it-telfa trewwaħ.

 

Sinna tewm imqatta’

Ġisem uliedna mqatta’ issa…

widna widna,

saba’, saba’

għadma, għadma.

 

Basla mqatta’

Għajnejja deżert,

Ma baqgħalix x’nibki….

 

Bżar iswed

Iroxxu fuqna l-bombi u l-balal

bħall-bżar jikwi kubrit.

 

Paprika

Ħwawar mgħadekx issib.

Lanqas biebek,

wisq inqas is-serratura…

la soddtok, liżarek,

la ħwejġek

saħansitra lanqas uliedek.

 

Klin

Il-frak tat-terrapin taħt saqajk

sar il-klin ġdid tiegħek.

Tħawwar kuljum bih

ma’ kull pass li tmidd

tul beltek.

 

Bharat*

Forsi fadal ħwawar ġild l-innoċenti li jitwieldu?

Li mat-tieni jum diġà jgħarfu x’issarraf arthom?

 

Melħ

Mnejn ħa nitfa’ ftit melħ f’palati

flok fuq il-feriti miftuħa?

 

Żejt

Tgħid iż-żejt għad ifexfex fil-wiċċ

dil-verità waħdanija?

Mingħajr ma jkun hemm emigrazzjoni perpetwa?

 

*(Syrian spice mix)

 

 

 

Yakhanit batata

Potato stew

 

A kilo of potatoes

Oh my land,

which soil should I plough

that doesn’t bear bloody potatoes?

Look! They’re

giving them to armed soldiers,

and our children

are feeding off withered breasts

dreaming of clouds

shaped like potatoes.

 

Half a kilo of deboned lamb shanks

Like lambs we were taken to be slaughtered

our cracked bones are countless

so are the laments that drop dead as soon as uttered.

 

A handful of chopped parsley

I cannot feel the scent of za’atar, mint or parsley anymore.

Instead, I only manage the odour of loss.

 

A chopped clove of garlic

Our children’s bodies are mutilated…

ears,

fingers,

bones.

 

A chopped onion

My eyes are arid,

I have no more tears to shed….

 

Black pepper

Bombs and bullets are sprinkled upon us

Like sulphuric flaming pepper.

 

Paprika

You’d no longer find spices.

Nor your door,

Not even the lock…

Or your bed, your linen,

your clothes

you’d not even find your children.

 

Rosemary

Fragments of rubble snap beneath your step

This is your rosemary –

Every flavoured step you take

inside your city.

 

Bharat*

Perhaps, I’d still find spices reminiscent of the innocent born

who, on their second day already know what their land has in store?

 

Salt

Which salt shall I

spread onto my palate

and not on these open wounds?

 

Oil

Will truth ever get to the surface  

and spare us this relentless emigration?

 

*(Syrian spice mix)

 

Translated from the Maltese by Claudia Gauci