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Antoine's poems are followed by his translations

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To listen to Antoine reading the following poems:

Nota bene

C'est la vie

Bateau ivre

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More poetry from Malta

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Antoine Cassar

Antoine Cassar



Bateau ivre


Fuq blata, ħadt xemxata, parlant avec les muses,
le onde fino alle ossa del petto, e più in su,
dawra mejt, jien sturdejt, ma tête, ma tête elle tourne,
high and low, to and fro, no side, no tide, no moon,

inbaħħar, għadni nbaħħar, bla boxxla u bla tmun,
l'espoir, la mer à boire, ça coule, ça roule, ça bouge,
the world, the world astounds me, I'm bemused, I'm confused,
e vado alla deriva, y soy el mar azul.

X'crazy miscela de langues, de aguas, ta' lwien, de mondes,
cent mille livres, bateau ivre, le flou d'idées reçues,
trickling sands, empty hands, après nous, le déluge,

żielaq taħt wiċċ il-baħar, la kwadru u lanqas tond,
no comprendo, mi arrendo, j'ai peur, c'est l'Inconnu,
u meta, għidli, meta se jittrakka l-vapur?



Drunken Boat


On a rock, I got sunstroke, conversing with the muses, / the waves up to the bones of my chest, and further up, / round and round, I've gone dizzy, my head, my head it turns, / high and low, to and fro, no side, no tide, no moon;

sailing, I'm still sailing, without a compass or a rudder, / hope, the sea to drink *, it flows, it rolls, it moves, / the world, the world astounds me, I'm bemused, I'm confused, / and I am cast adrift, and I am the blue sea.

What a crazy mix of languages, of waters, of colours, of worlds, / a hundred thousand books, drunken boat, the haze of received ideas, / trickling sands, empty hands, after us, the deluge;

slipping below the line of the sea, neither square nor round, / I don't understand, I give up, I'm afraid, it's the Unknown, / and when, tell me, when will the boat dock?


* A modification of the French idiom ce n'est pas la mer à boire, meaning "it's not impossible"



C’est la vie


Run, rabbit, run, run, run, from the womb to the tomb,
de cuatro a dos a tres, del río a la mar,
play the fool, suffer school, żunżana ddur iddur,
engage-toi, perds ta foi, le regole imparar,

kul u sum, aħra u bul, chase the moon, meet your doom,
walk on ice, roll your dice, col destino danzar,
métro, boulot, dodo, titla’ x-xemx, terġa’ tqum,
decir siempre mañana y nunca mañanar,

try to fly, touch the sky, hit the stone, break a bone,
sell your soul for a loan to call those bricks your home,
fall in love, rise above, fall apart, stitch your heart,

che sarà? ça ira! plus rien de nous sera,
minn sodda għal sodda niġru tiġrija kontra l-baħħ,
sakemm tinbela’ ruħna mill-ġuf mudlam ta’ l-art.



C'est la vie


Run, rabbit, run, run, run, from the womb to the tomb, / from four to two to three, from the river to the sea, / play the fool, suffer school, the wasp goes round and round*, / get involved, lose your faith, learn the rules,

eat and fast, shit and piss, chase the moon, meet your doom, / walk on ice, roll your dice, with destiny dance, / metro, work, sleep, the sun rises, you get up again, / to say always tomorrow and never tomorrow reach,

try to fly, touch the sky, hit the stone, break a bone, / sell your soul for a loan to call those bricks your home, / fall in love, rise above, fall apart, stitch your heart,

what will be? it will go well, nothing more of us will be, / from bed to bed we run a race against the void, / until our soul is swallowed by the dark womb of the land.


* the name of a Maltese children's game




Nota bene


Come, armageddon, come! The skies are cold and bleak,
passo appresso passo mi pento e mi rinvio,
nuit d'orage, cri sauvage!, è l'io contro l'io,
nitkarrab u nitkelleb, and shout, and scream, and shriek…

Le xbin, tibqax bit-tama. Tagħmik, tgħallik, taħxik.
Sí, déjalo vacío, ¡que corra, corra el río
de la vida, del verbo, del alma en estío!
Il me reste la parole. Sans elle, tout est oblique.

Iebes, li tibqa' liebes korazza ta' l-azzar,
un pensiero di pietra, une conscience de cristal.
Nota bene: la speme t'acceca. Non darle retta.

Vabbè. L'amor non è che fumo di sigaretta,
the life span of a germ, the journey of a sperm.
'Żda le, yo viviré. One day, perhaps, I'll learn.



Nota bene


Come, armageddon, come! The skies are cold and bleak, / step after step I repent and postpone myself, / night of storm, savage cry!, it's the self against the self, / I whine and pant doggedly, and shout, and scream, and shriek…

No my friend, don't keep hope. It blinds you, it boils you, it screws you. / Yes, leave it empty, let run, let run the river / of life, of the verb, of the soul in summer! / I am left with the word. Without it, all is oblique.

It's hard, to keep wearing an armour of steel, / a thought of stone, a conscience of crystal. / Nota bene: hope blinds you. Heed it not.

All right. Love is nothing more than the smoke of a cigarette, / the life span of a germ, the journey of a sperm. / But no, I will live. One day, perhaps, I'll learn.



Azul


Azul, te quiero azul, azul como la mar
tal-Qrendi. Vieni, scendi, porte-moi sur les ondes,
entre acianos marinos, lejl u nhar, near and far,
take me down, let me drown, sa għerq iż-żerq tal-fond...

Blanc et noir? J'en ai marre! Ô qu'on me laisse choir!
Azul. Not grey, nor blond, no soggy northern pond,
saphir, kaħlani nir, tout être, ne rien avoir,
in quel regno di quiete my subprimordial bond.

Azul, azul del sur, blu dipinto di blu,
la mer, cette grande lumière, toi la vague, moi l'île nue. . .

O to be who I was, who I was to be me!
O for my wretched soul to dissolve into the sea!

Familja, meta mmut, la tixħtunix fit-tebut:
remmduni, u xerrduni fil-baħar ta' Ħaġar Qim.



Blue


Blue, I want you blue, blue like the sea / of Qrendi. Come, descend, take me on the waves, / among marine cornflowers, night and day, near and far, / take me down, let me drown, to the root of the blue of the deep…

White and black? I've had enough! O may one let me fall! / Blue. Not grey, nor blond, no soggy northern pond, / sapphire, indigo blue, to be all, to have nothing, / in that realm of silence my subprimordial bond.

Blue, blue of the south, blue painted blue, / the sea, that great light, you the wave, I the naked isle...

O to be who I was, who I was to be me! / O for my wretched soul to dissolve into the sea!

Family, when I die, throw me not into the coffin: / make me ash, and scatter me in the sea of Ħaġar Qim.


* Qrendi is a small village close to the southern cliffs of Malta, where one can find the neolithic temples of Ħaġar Qim.