Emmanuel George Cefai

Silver Star - 3,235 Points (12th March 1955 / Victoria, Gozo)

This land, land of ours


This land, land of ours
gloating with styles on this brown land
of ours
dry brown bread
humble and desiring
fire
that quenches not at night more so
past midnight
when Shades and Shrouds roam
and meet:
together march in
the cemeteries of the Earth.



we will
be known to eat the light
that through
and all around emanates
just every night
we need not hear amorous
notes of nightingales
no
nor
the wise jug-jug of the ancient
owls.
We need not.



they bade me eat the
bread
and it was sour
yet
in that sour
there was a sweetness
I experienced not before
the smell of ghosts and
shrouds and yews
all intertwined and mixed:
was in enchantment?



they bade me stop
and 'Look! '
they said the fields
and country are red
all red
not green:
such a sight have you seen? '
I asked furtively:
'Why red? '
'Ah! , ' replied a voice
'Is not blood red? '
'How can they be so soaked
in red? '
'Ask other not me.'



There is a red that quenches
when it be so soaked
we next had interruption of the
red
for midst the snows there was
a cover on the land that
color hid.



I had not hollow eyes
yet I became
and more becoming, I,
you see the incumbencies of a
Poet Seer?
You hear the whistle of the suffering?



Forest upon forest cloud on cloud
And covering all a helmet of gray skies
That nigh to frowning is with winter chill
Thrust in the heart of this helmet lights
A sudden thunder clap that roars
On yonder hill:
And the first drops of rain fall
Like wanton jewels of the wildest night



I went to the palace of crystalline glass
I saw it hovering in a field
I saw it hovering in a country plain
I saw it hovering amidst dancing mists
I saw it, I saw it:
with hollow eyes
I trod the damp earth soaked
with pieces of a broken mirror
all the glory gone
when once in palaces it shone
and
went the round of the palace rooms:
the mirror



I went to the palace of crystalline glass
I saw it hovering in a field
I saw it hovering in a country plain
I saw it hovering amidst dancing mists
I saw it, I saw it:
with hollow eyes
I trod the damp earth soaked
with pieces of a broken mirror
all the glory gone
when once in palaces it shone
and
went the round of the palace rooms:
the mirror



on the poles
the heads frowned grim
and
as the day waned
more grim grew
more dark
and awesome
more dark and
cumbersome:
to the palace of clouds
I rode on a sleigh
of gold made by the Muse
with her a-riding
two lovers?
We were just riding
and
in those summit heights
increasing
my brain was ever
working
my Soul was ever-beating
those summit heights
we went and went
how solid the clouds of fleece
they were
how solid, how solid!



there is beauty on this world of ours
amidst the ill and evil there lies beauty
that shines more than the north star in the night
when breezes blow and soft the currents flow
round in the moon-lit lake without a sound:
there is a beauty in the fields, the trees, the woods,
the homely springs, the dark raw rocks and bays,
the rustling seas, and the reeds soft-whispering
the ripid vales, the ever-greening hills,
the red dusk, sunset and the wanton night murmuring
murmuring than humming of the bees on nectared flowers
the beauty of sad eyes, the furtive glances,
a thousand and one other joys and thrills,
there is beauty on this world of ours.



over the hill of Clouds
wandered goblins green
above an ancient moon
around the night
below the cliff a sea
where swam open toothed sharks
where the waters were bleak
not blue and drear and green
though
it was not tempest.
over the hills one by one
there was a wind, a breeze
that settled from the dusk
installed there in its throne
by the red dusk
by the red dusk that passed.
that ancient tiredness was
closeted
that ancient scent was
smell of fish:
blue waters were away
blue waters were away.
you
you do not have that much to show
to demonstrate
to be so proud and haughty:
was that the sign of inferiority?
I saw a lightning pass and then
it went
all suddenly.
across a strait there
stood a colossus of wind and
energy:
there was a wistful thread of glass
that hung from the old heavens with
night dews that precipitated
the morn was full of them
the Dawn - of myriad eyes, it was.



And
on the roof they were playing
marbles
ancient Maltese game
I heard the settling of each marble or
the group
as it settled on the roof cement
all turning
then sudden stopped and fell
as tired drunkards in nocturnal revel.
there were few towers
rare
that haunted the brain so yet!
as yet!
as yet!
I saw those towers or some steeples
red
that mosque-like rose, other
more pointed as pointed breasts
or as thin swords to pierce up
the skies.



how wild the eyes of night can turn
in the chill burning of the winter’s frost
whilst icicles from unhappy trees descend
and winter sits grim o’er garden and land
in Hastings Gardens; while the lightning
the hoary laughter of the gods recalls
and the long fingers of it
the thunderbolts of Jove repeat, recall:
how wild the eyes of night can turn.



there was competition, horses
breathing hard,
with verses on their tongues,
they did not speak
nor utter syllable,
I saw them
I saw them.
Hurry! hurry! the clock-hands are
turning!
the dawn already is out and gone
the day is not bustling but
trembles and shakes with relative
laziness:
I saw a shadow pass so swift
it was
so swift yet my eyes saw
and easy lost as saw
the lanky shadow.



in the mortuary dressed in white
impeccable doctor suits
ten hedgehogs bent in operation
around the table:
'Hurry! hurry! , ' said one
he had big spectacles on his nose
and trembled.
Frenetic panic in that room
of formalin
suddenly arose:
there was a commotion of
a hubbub of sudden voices
arose
a tall and respectable hedgehog
who
had been quiet reading
a large newspaper that hid him
almost:
'Ho! Heigh! is this not mortuary
not an operating table? '
Then silence,
silence fell and disseminated.



Hard is the land
Hard is the land
And swarming with ants
That prowl around:
Swarming, swarming
As they turn around
Around, around,
Abound.
They were directing towards
The mortuary or the operating
Room?



Towards the cluster
A Rat ancient and old
Was directing:
With curiosity burning
To watch ants building
Ants that were building
A tower high, a sort of
Babel.
It was over the humid land
The river was passing
By the river was gurgling
Was the land sinking
Was the land rising?



Rising high
rising high
I saw reproduction rising
high
raising its head
high
its head held high:
and life was streaming:
the heavens that were frowning
now were gleaming.



from behind tinted spectacles
I saw a new found land
To my heart I wanted
To keep the discovery
Not share with humanity
Disgrace! Disgrace!
somebody shouted.
'Stop crowd! Stop! You
will leave me in oblivion
or give my dues that honesty
requires to the best of our civilization? '
There was no reply.
Loomed in the distant mists
the Silent City.



There was a rotten crowd
Of
Mushrooms:
Yet
Still they scented not
And hung their heads
At times
At other times they ranted
Shaking their heads here and
There
In quasi-rhythm:
There was silhouette
Coming
For night with scimitar of a half moon
Was on the earth, the turning Earth,
Rapidly descending
To his divided moiety of reign
One by one the stars alighting.



Began to shout the Chorus
We be in the land of the Dark Walrus
So we suspended laws that are now
By
Passed and forgotten:
Now our brains think different
O! how easy relative it was
For writing in one tenth the size
The reformed and evolved laws
The other bulky plump and unwieldy laws replacing.
Lank a Professor with a Bulbous Head
And
Half blonde half dark moustaches thin
Trimming and
Brimming:
‘O! O! O! the laws! Where the
Codes they took from me?
Were they not mirrors of the Codices venerable
Where has our civilization gone astray? ’
He put his hands to his head
Touching
On that Bulbous Head
The few lank ancient hairs
Remaining.



We were all oaring, oars that paddled
To right,
To left,
Here,
There,
And the skiff of civilization moving
With smile on its ruddy face displaying.
Our Captain and our Leader said:
‘Slow! Slow! Direction good but slower
Evolution is glancing forth
More than a lance fast thrown
We must be slower.’
Then
Rose a Sailor and a Poet Seer
‘No sir, no sir, see how fast
Earth be rotating and the other
Bodies and thing of the celestial
Spaces.
We must not be less, and catch up
With them.’
Then our Captain and our Leader
With chin in hand
Closed his mouth and ceased his ranting.



Then said a Prophet-Eremite
He was emerged just from
His cave
Where with beetles and rats and
Animals
He stayed.
‘We have a voyage before us
We have a voyage before us
There are these options:
Either we stop
Be fossilized:
Either we move
And with evolution grow.’
His eyes wide open wider,
Wider grew
And red:
And
Then he rent his clothes
And said:
‘We,
We humans of the noble blood
That noble
Through suffering of ages
Have hesitation
To move
With Evolution grow and reach? ’



I
I saw old ancient styles fall
I saw of dogmatic forts walls crumble
I saw Crowds rising after centuries’ sleep:
I saw they rose at last and recuperated:
I saw the waters rest from turbulence
I saw the waters glide as evolution glides
I saw that it was better then to turn to beauty
I therefore went out when night was out
I therefore had tears in my eyes of stars
I had therefore sang so much of Evolution
I therefore sang so much of civilization
I sang an ever-growing evolution
I sang not wars, prisons, or tortures
I sang and sing civilizations new
I re-write from the start, tabula rasa,
I
I re-write each time a new civilization
I call on you, Earth-people, do the same:
I call on you: Earth-people, fear not!
I call on you: let all reform all ever
I
I will rest in peace replaced by you Earth-people
I will feel my Soul rest, hear it whisper
I will reside with Dawn, reside with Fire.’

Submitted: Saturday, October 05, 2013
Edited: Monday, October 07, 2013

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