More poetry from Malta



Priscilla Cassar

Priscilla Cassar


Your words are balm
preserved in porcelain
adorned with spirals of silver:
sometimes you open it and rub me down
making me drowsy
making me dream. . .
its scent transports me to the sea that's in your eyes
a small boat with white cotton sails
cruising waters still unexplored
between words you've never uttered
and I see you look up, alone
your lips stirring in prayer.

Futile now
I've given the apple to someone else

Translated by Maria Grech Ganado

Fossils in our minds

water droplets on each side of an empty canvas,
small, large, different colours, diverse shapes
slowly inching their way to a concave centre.
forces of nature:
poles attracting
pigments merging.
two lives before
two lives at a margin.
one life now.

                                                          boiling waters
                                                          sizzling waters
                                                          frozen heart.

the canvas has cracked in the middle
a hairline crack;
accumulating stress pulls it consistently apart
bending it backwards at the edges —
droplets start to disembrace
fall apart.
teardrop lacerations at the sides,
blurred hues.

                                                          we left marks in each other's oceans.

my stripped rocks
are awash with water.
look closer —
a fossil sticks painfully in one crevice.

In Transit

Step back through the looking glass.
The child is seven,
Veiled in a tulle
Brown—coloured scarf
Still smelling of mother's skin.

She carries her toys
As her dreams carry her along
From her room to the balcony of life.

Her caged walls
Remind her that her one act play
Will run forever
In a corner of her heart.

In transit again now.

Another failed relationship
Still crying smoke
Blankets her body;
Tonight the bathroom mirror
Only reflects her own cold breath.

Far from home.
Pack up again and get going.


Since your invasion into my life
There's been a constant change of seasons,
Sometimes competing against each other —
All in a day.

Now you've exited
Right through the front door for everyone to see.

Nowadays I'm a sunflower by day
Twisting and turning towards the light
To nourish its chilled petals.
By night I mutate
Into a weeping willow,
Tears trailing
To return to the river
The moisture it has suddenly been deprived of.


we are all paper boats
folded in different ways:
swimming in life's lakes and rivers;
sometimes there's wind at our stern
other times it's at our prow.
often we scrape against each other, or crash.

the end sucks us all down
into the thirsty waters.

Translated by Maria Grech Ganado

Pebbly Words

you trace your finger across my waves
creating new ones.
your words are pebbles
which skim my surface:
once, twice, three times,
then they sink gradually
to my deep sands.


her life was tarnished by stains
like the formations
on a cherry—wood table top

lighter in patches