POETRY: Norbert Bugeja

The Sun is Setting upon Andalusian Waters
Copyright Gilbert Calleja
“Nieżla x-xemx fuq l-ilma tal-Andalusija” translated from Maltese by Mark-Anthony Fenech

Twenty-seven oranges;
your heart can only take so much.

Twenty-seven oranges looking down
upon the Guadalquivir careening, languid,
drinking up the tears of this city which suckles
from the orange death cheering in the beast’s maw.
Twenty-seven oranges bartering
on the yellow thoughts caught up in our hands
as we drink up the froth of a setting sun –
olé, la muerte alegre. A fleeting glance –
twenty-seven oranges raise their hands
and as lewd drunks bore their eyes into ours:
a pair of sinners sharing the last pint,
a couple of dark bulls, as one, strewn on the sand.

Twenty-seven oranges.

These verses can only take so much.

A Lesson
“Lezzjoni” translated from Maltese by Mark-Anthony Fenech

My love, would you tell me on the ways of heaven?

The word of the Lord treads lightly upon the water,
seeding by rote into every little figure praying
like ancient voices whispering in a sanctuary.
“Dil-frażi jgħidha Sidna Ġesù Kristu:
Kif int bgħatt lili, hekk jien nibgħat lilkhom”,*
and the chamber becomes an effluvium of
I don’t know how many sentences
etched onto every soul with divine glyphs.

Silence dribbles in droplets between each phrase,
A balm which soothes up the brawl before each lesson;
the father-superior’s shade, his yellowing bible
fade out into the voice of a slight preacher
doling out Blessings to a starving hillside...

Oh spirit, would you tell me on the ways of heaven ?

*”These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

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