Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another poem translated from Maltese to Dutch

The following is a poem which my friend Jan van den Hoek translated from the original in Maltese. It was inspired by a small accident some years ago: I was driving my car and a bird came crashing against the windscreen. It immediately bounced and landed in a field nearby. I stopped the car as soon as possible but could not find the bird. I immediately thought that it was dead. The bird is a small creature to which we give little importance. However, accidents can happen even to us human beings: today we may be healthy and alive, tomorrow we may be either in hospital or even dead. Just reflecting...
Again, thanks Jan for translating to Dutch my poem.

Een abrupte dood[1]

Een klein vogeltje dat vrij en onbezorgd
aan het vliegen was
werd geschampt door een passerende auto.
De bestuurder zag slechts ‘n grijs bolletje
op hem afkomen
hoorde niets meer dan alleen een lichte tik.
En hij keek in het spiegeltje en zag
hem levenloos naar beneden storten
op de grond midden op de weg.
Hij stopte niet!
De reis van de bestuurder ging verder
en die van het onbezorgde vogeltje
eindigde abrupt.

[1] Geschreven in februari 1999.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Science fiction - one of my favourites

One of my favourite genres is science fiction. Last week I watched on dvd three movies: I am legend (2007), directed by Francis Lawrence, Invasion of the body snatchers (1956) directed by Don Siegel, and Perfect Creature, directed by Glenn Standring (2006). I am legend (starring Will Smith) and Perfect Creature both treat the vampire issue. The movie I am legend caught my attention and so I ordered the novel by Richard Matheson (see which was published in 1954. People who saw the movie weren't happy, especially those who read the novel before. Now I know why. Personally I found the movie gripping and having a nice mix of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, drama. But it is very different from the original novel of Matheson. I liked the novel more as it is a good read, very flowing (only 160 pages), and a classic. As good sci-fi books, this one seems to treat a remote issue or reality, but in fact it discusses present day problems such as isolation, solitude, evolution, different perspectives and interpretations, biological warfare and mutation.

Summary on the back cover of the novel (Gollancz Publications): "An SF novel about vampires... Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?"

Two other short novels which are a good read are The Fifth Child and Ben, in the World by Doris Lessing.
A farewell to Arthur C. Clarke who left this world some days ago (19 th March) at the age of 90. He was best known for his work on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey based on his story The Sentinel (1948). See

Monday, March 24, 2008

Poetry by Stephen Morris

Last 22nd February the Maltese Poets Association ( of which I am vice-President organized a Poetry Evening in Birgu (Malta). As usual members of the Association and the public in general were invited to read their poetry in different languages or just to listen and have a nice evening. Even though I was not present, I got to know that for this Poetry Evening there was a special guest, poet and artist Stephen Morris, who talked about his experiences as an artist and read some of his verse.

Stephen Morris was born in Smethwick, which is on the edge of Birmingham in the West Midlands of England. He attended Moseley Art School, Fircroft College, Marieborg Folk High School (Sweden), and the Universities of Cardiff and Leicester. His poetry has been widely published in the USA and Britain and it has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and periodicals, including The Sunday Times, The Observer, Peace News, The Daily Mirror, Tribune, The TES, Poetry Wales, Rolling Stone, and The International Times. He has undertaken poetry reading tours of the USA, Denmark, Holland and Sweden, as well as poetry readings in Britain, at Universities, Colleges, Schools, Folk Clubs and Poetry Societies. Stephen Morris has published over twelve volumes of poetry and has had numerous solo exhibitions of his paintings, visual poetry and sculpture. See also,

(From The Kingfisher Catcher, Aquila Poetry, 1974, 1975, 1976)


Autumn is a season of pain
When the days slowly shorten
And the evenings come in early.
Cruel winds whisper Winter,
As they swirl fading leaves
In ritualistic dances of death.
The mornings are bleak and cold
And in the soft twilight
Coughing workmen hurry
For wet clean buses,
Thinking of warm white beds
And quietly dreading the day ahead.
The city carries to the country
Seeking common ground
But the farmers plant for Spring
And the squirrels hide for Winter.
It’s Autumn and the workers shuffle on
Towards a new year and the finality of death.

(From Limbus of the Moon, Pale Horse, 2005)


Forget all the promises
Fold away the dreams
Close all the windows
Nothing is what it seems

The love no more than words
Coated in hypocrisy
The hiss of a seductive serpent
Ignored of course by me

Now months and years have passed
My ring it has no finger
The song was fine and wonderful
But not alas the singer

Forget all the promises
Fold away the dreams
Open all the windows
Nothing is what it seems


Shutters closed
Aperitifs taken
Experiences exchanged
Late film
From bathroom
To bedroom
To bed
Warm body
Savouring the other
To sleep
A peace
Broken by sunrise
A new day
To sunfall


Toy plunge your hands
Deeply, towards a greater good.
This provides the eternal dilemma.
The pitch-darkened waters
Shroud a bleeding heart.
Morality disappears in slaughter.
Scruples are extinguished in flames,
Acts of terror perpetrated,
Making you worse than your vanguished.
You then thread fear into the innocent,
To concede a truce of false promises.
Another circle of life is completed,
An icon of ideology shattered,
As the peace dream explodes
On distant hills.