To the Fishing Village of St. Julian

by Raymond Fenech


No longer does the hoarse fishmonger
shout at the crack of dawn – Lampuki hajjin, hajjin!*
The voice has been drowned by pneumatic hammers
to make way for a new hotel that must kill competitors.
Fresh fish is only available in restaurant freezers.

I can still see myself catching caterpillars,
climbing almond trees at Spinola Palace gardens,
now raped by the erection of Portomaso apartments.
I watched them turn from cocoons into Cabbage White,
blew softly on their unfolding wings to dry.

Attired in fancy running lights
the village is fossilised beneath concrete cages.
Kids are now men and men have turned to compost.
We are shadows of moving clouds,
vanishing with gusts of wind;
like the old tramp with the lame dog,
the paraffin man who died of cancer,
and the young fisherman’s son,
who hanged himself from the stairs’ railings.

The night sky is clear from dust –
the hurricanes of falling debris subside
into a silence that is solely inside the heart;
the orange light is only in dreams.


*Fresh dolphin fish

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