Emmanuel George Cefai

Gold Star - 35,573 Points (12th March 1955 / Victoria, Gozo)

Ah! Lo The Light! - So Shouted Our Guide - Poem by Emmanuel George Cefai

ah! lo the Light! - so shouted our guide
We on one olive green Abruzzo hill did stand
Below the pines and the smokes from the vale
Where peasant dwellings hid their humble heads.

So here was the ghost - the night had still
Not fallen down its veil with slow enmeshing
Adown the olive hill where we did stand:
But from the skies low and one storey-high
The Light flashed in the dark.

‘That is he! The ghost! ’ - the guide excitedly:
The night did flicker with a thousand stars
That shone like silver diamonds on the sea
Of strange azure and rare that heaven is:
And the Light flickered all mischievously.

It seemed a playful ghost - but hist!
It spoke - at first a drawl I heard but then
Less indistinct the words came to my ears
And less and less indistinct grew with every word:

My friends! If you but appreciate
My ghostly status you will not look strange
At me or what I say.
For I my friends full murdered was
Here on this knoll, this hill,
Six hundred years and more did pass:
Ah! Love for you they murdered me
When the night stars
Shone in the Levant with lover’s eyes
And the wind subdued sang in yon small wood
Between the trees a-mourning funereal:
The stone that murdered, the dagger, the blood
All I remember well and recollect:
They thought to destroy me, yet here
Am I six hundred years and more
And speak as living men and move and walk:
Only that the frailties of these men
I do not have: for no vile dagger can
Anymore harm me or trouble me:
And see I without seen; and hear without heard:
For me the wonders of the Spring
The same are as the gusts and frosts
That in the Winter hoar pinch the pine trees
And hang from them in frosted icicles:
When Christmas comes in snowy garb of love
And nightingales sit all lonely on their branch.
I am as living men and more and no hurt can
Damage me; nor can green envy shoot
His bolt at me; and green-faced conspirators
Cannot dagger me as they did then.
No harm toucheth me or ill
Will near me’

So saith the ghost - and then it stopped all suddenly
It uttered a few last words incomprehensible
As when a drowning voice is sinking in a well
Where time manifesteth to drown in silent spell.


And then the Light shone not nor more
it flickered to our eyes astonishing:
But in the air, the quiet air
There lay the touches of the veil of night
As it went down a-down that quiet hill;
And lights electric neon lit
Down in the valley where
The peasant dwellings hid their humble heads.

Adown we went; adown Abruzzo hill
And in to Abruzzo vale we went:
The night was climbing in his regal car
And lighting one by one the stars
That like diamonds shone in heaven’s face
Or like fresh tears in a woman’s eyes
Where paradise in dwelleth in a lake

Adown we went - no word we said
Our hearts were full - our minds not less
For we, we human prouds had learnt
In a few moments a lesson that had not learnt
In years of pondering study at university:

Cool was the wind and licked our face:
The night was climbing in his regal car
Lighting one by one the silent stars
That as diamonds shone in heaven’s face
Or like fresh tears in a woman’s eyes
Where paradise in dwelleth in a lake.


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Maya Angelou

Caged Bird



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Poem Submitted: Sunday, October 9, 2011



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