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            Bormla  (pèlerinage)

fil-qalba

hemm leħen nannti

jaħtaf il-vokali

ta’ toroq tfuliti

 

hemm nannti liebsa l-gejxa

 

hemm il-ġara ta’ xagħarha bbliċjat

u l-qliezi mxammra

tpeċlaq waħedha

ma’ radju jtextex

mal-barmil ifexfex

tobrox l-istess biċċa bankina

erbgħin sena u fuqhom

 

hemm l-Immakulata Kunċizzjoni

ittrakkata ma’ elf faċċata

 

il-qtates magħluba

jħaxknu t-telqa tagħhom

mal-għekiesi tat-turġien

jilagħqu t-traskuraġni titmiegħek

fi truf l-isqaqien

 

naxra ħwejjeġ tal-ħabba gozz

pariġġ leħen ta’ mara jitpastaż

wara ħasira mtertqa

imdendla bl-addoċċ

 

riħa taqsam ta’ stuffat

 

wara l-knataz u s-serraturi

jitmaħmħu l-fatati

 

ħdejn ix-Xgħajra ta’ Bormla

mhux bogħod wisq minn fejn ommi

kienet tixtri ċ-ċiċri u l-ħut

nieqaf niggosta qarmuċa ċaċċaruna –

xedaq beraħ u libsa perpura

ibandlu żewġ toppini

f’pika mal-mina

ma’ kull żaqżiqa

jgarawli botta

 

sinna businna

bajda ħalib

oqgħod fejn se nqiegħdek

meta mmut niġi għalik

 

 

 

 

Kantuniera 'l Bogħod, Edizzjoni Skarta, Malta, 2015

seksik minn Triq Alessandra, Bormla

seksik minn Triq Alessandra, Bormla

 

mal-persjani u l-bibien

jitqarqċu wkoll it-tifkiriet

jiddensu l-ilwien

jisktu wieħed wieħed

l-ilħna tat-triq

 

jgħidu li Ġolina

li kellha l-merċa ta’ taħt il-mina

kienet żeffiena prima

jgħidu

 

jgħidu li Bersa fi xbubitha tħabbet ma’ Ingliż

u meta baħħar u ħallielha tarbija

għaddietha b’wild zitha l-ħawlija

jgħidu

 

jgħidu li Żabett tal-Furfiċetta

sabiħa daqs mija u brava kemm tridha

’mma mal-irġiel minn dejjem kelba

tiha qalbek

u tagħmel ħerba

 

jgħidu wkoll li Tessie tas-Susa

tant kienet għajjura

li lil Żabett

sa ħanxritilha l-qattusa

 

jgħidu li Tereża t-tewmija

ilha tħuf miġnuna war’ ħuha

mindu kienet għadha daqs nofs felula

hi u Ninu ċikubriku

 

jgħidu li Doris tal-Gendus

Alla jagħtiha s-sabar

keffnet lill-għarus

fil-mant tat-tieġ

li kienet għad’ qed tħit

 

ħluq itaqtqu

ilsna jsefsfu

mejtin jitqallbu

 

mill-ewwel antiporta sal-iċken laxqa żebgħa

imdewda bit-twedwid dit-triq …

 

pssss

jgħidu li min iparpar

mingħalih band’ oħra se jsaddad

ma jkunx qiegħed ħlief ifarfar

jgħidu

ma tintegħimx l-istess dil-gżira

this island tastes different

(english version translated by the author)

this island tastes different without you

despite another spring sprouting

frolicking with every kerb

peeping out of rubble walls

scrambling up cliffsides

dancing away with the daisies and the wild thyme

the waves keep whispering naughty riddles to the rock-centaury

you’d think the bastions were showing off in their honey-coloured robes

but where are you?

I still remember market days – you coming home with branches of fresh chickpeas

buying us carob sweets as Holy Week approached –

even the figs and prickly pears would taste better when you peeled them

a quid was all you needed to put on a feast

and Saint Martin’s meant we’d get our bagful of nuts[1]

even when we became adults

I’m jealous of these stairways that knew you as a child

giggling, prancing

roaming the streets barefoot with your ‘big sis’

they watched as you entered into wedlock, played grown-up,

hummed, cooed, stumbled into widowhood much too soon

a bunch of greying photos is all that’s left us

we look for you there, my cousins and I

but keep getting lost in their smallness

bewilderment creeps up on us

as your eyes meet ours, brimming with mischief

and there you are –

posing in a skirt a good two inches shorter than ours

 

 

 

(Alexandra Street, Cospicua)

 

[1] On Saint Martin’s day (November 11), it was customary for Maltese children to receive a cloth bag filled with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, figs, apples, oranges, tangerines, and a sweet bread roll. 

île 

(french variation by the author)

 

le goût de cette île s’altère en son absence, malgré la présence du printemps qui s’amuse à border les trottoirs, se niche dans les interstices, grimpe murets et falaises, fait danser le thym sauvage et les chrysanthèmes couronnés – les centaurées se font gardiennes des confidences que leur susurre la mer ; les remparts s’exhibent dans leur tenue couleur de miel – mais elle, où est-elle ? – je me souviens des jours de marché : elle rentrait, brandissant comme un trophée les branches de pois chiches frais – pour le Vendredi saint, c’était des bonbons de caroube qu’elle nous achetait, ce n’était pas pécher que d’en manger – et puis, les figues de Barbarie avaient toujours meilleur goût quand c’était elle qui les épluchait – avec trois fois rien elle nous concoctait un festin – même devenus grands, on avait notre sac de noix lors de la Saint-Martin – j’envie ces escaliers qui l’ont connue gamine, chantonnant à tue-tête avec ses sœurs, errant dans les rues pieds nus : insouciante allégresse d’avant-guerre – je la revois se fiançant à seize ans, jouant à la femme – mère trop tôt, bientôt veuve – d’elle, il nous reste un tas de photos grises dans lesquelles mes cousines et moi aimons nous égarer – s’étonner à chaque fois devant son regard espiègle – constater avec émerveillement l’impertinence qui la fait souvent poser en jupe – la jalouser, justement, pour ses jupes, plus courtes encore que les nôtres

 

 

(Triq Alessandra, Bormla)

The Vibrant

CulturaScene

in Cottonera

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Nadia

On this page we present you the art and culture scene of the Cottonera.

 

Artists from the Cottonera - who are the ones to watch?

MIFSUD   

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Nadia's connection with Bormla runs deep. She has very fond memories of her Nanna's house where she lived until the age of 7. She remembers vividly how she delighted in the rumpus of girls spilling off buses and into the yard of the secondary school just across the road from her house, or the rush of excitement as the Kunċizzjoni or the Irxoxt approached. Summer Tuesdays remain synonymous with the "suq" (market) and with the memory of her Nanna, her Nanna's sisters, their daughters and granddaughters sprawled about the kitchen, chattering loudly and laughing away. Among her favorite childhood pastimes, she recollects playing hopscotch across the road from St. Theresa's Church and running breathless up and down the stairways, chasing her cousins or being chased by them. Going to First Friday Mass with her schoolmates felt somewhat like an outing back then - the girls compulsively comparing their little white veils; the boys poking fun at them, relentlessly trying to pull off the girls' head coverings without the teachers noticing.

 

Nadia għandha rabta qawwija ma' Bormla, u ħafna tifkiriet sbieħ tad-dar ta' nannitha fejn qattgħet l-ewwel seba' snin ta' ħajjitha. Tiftakar sew kemm kienet tieħu gost tara t-tfajliet neżlin geġwiġija minn ġol-privates għal ġol-bitħa tal-iskola sekondarja li kien hemm faċċata tad-dar. Daqstant ieħor tiftakar kemm kienet tkun ħerqana meta jibdew joqorbu l-Kunċizzjoni u l-Irxoxt. Nhar ta' Tlieta baqa' sinonimu mas-"suq tal-Birgu" u mal-kċina tan-Nanna fejn kienu jiltaqgħu n-nisa (kważi) kollha tal-familja (in-Nanna u ħutha, uliedhom u wlied uliedhom), fi storbju sabiħ ta' tpaċpiċ u daħk. Tiftakar il-logħob tal-passju fil-wesgħa faċċata tal-knisja ta' Santa Tereża u l-ġiri bla nifs mal-kuġini fit-turġien. Il-quddiesa tal-ewwel Ġimgħa tax-xahar ma' sħabha tal-klassi kienet qisha ħarġa tal-iskola - il-bniet moħħhom biex iqabblu l-mant abjad ċkejken li kienu jilbsu biex imorru l-knisja ; is-subien jiżżuffjettaw, jippruvaw jiġbdulhom il-velu bil-moħbi tal-għalliema.

Nadia Mifsud was born in Bormla, Malta in 1976, but moved to France in 1998 (which may account for her feeling 'definitely Maltese' on dull, rainy mornings, 'almost entirely French' in springtime, 'half-Maltese half-French' on ordinary days and none of the above the rest of the time).

Mifsud is particularly interested in feminist theory and literature (which certainly does not explain her passion for Picasso), and is involved in various programmes that aim to encourage reading among children (she likes to attribute this to the fact that her mum would reward her with books, not candy, when she was little).

 

Żugraga, her first collection of verse, was published in December 2009. Her second collection of poems, Kantuniera 'l Bogħod (Edizzjoni Skarta, 2015) was awarded the Malta National Book Prize for Poetry 2016. 2017 saw the release of her debut novel, Ir-rota daret dawra (kważi) sħiħa (Merlin Publishers), shortlisted for the 2018 Malta National Book Prize. Other works have been published in anthologies both in Malta and abroad. In 2019, she was awarded First Prize in the Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest 2019 (organized by the Malta National Book Council) for her poem 'Varjazzjonijiet tas-Skiet'. Mifsud has been involved in Inizjamed and the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival since 2011. She works as a teacher and a literary translator.

 

 

Nadia Mifsud twieldet Malta fl-1976, imma emigrat lejn Franza fl-1998 (li forsi jispjega l-fatt li tħossha "assolutament Maltija" fil-ġranet imsaħħba u bix-xita, "kważi kompletament Franċiża" fir-rebbiegħa, "nofsha Maltija-nofsha Franċiża” fil-ġranet normali, u xejn minn dawn it-tlieta fil-bqija tal-ġranet tas-sena.) Mifsud hija partikularment interessata fil-letteratura u t-teorija feminista (li ċertament ma jispjegax il-passjoni tagħha għal Picasso), u hija involuta f’diversi programmi li jinkuraġġixxu l-qari fost it-tfal (Nadia tħobb tgħid li dan l-involviment ġej mill-fatt li meta kienet għadha żgħira, ommha kellha ħabta ttiha kotba minflok ħelu meta kienet toqgħod brava.)

 

Żugraga kienet l-ewwel ġabra tagħha ta’ versi miktuba bil-Malti, ippubblikata fl-2009. It-tieni ġabra ta’ poeżiji, Kantuniera 'l Bogħod (Edizzjoni Skarta, 2015) rebħet il-Premju Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb 2016 fil-qasam tal-poeżiji. Fl-2017, hija ppubblikat l-ewwel rumanz tagħha, bl-isem ta' Ir-rota daret dawra (kważi) sħiħa (Merlin Publishers). Xogħlijiet oħra dehru f’diversi antoloġiji, kemm Malta kif ukoll barra. Il-poeżija tagħha 'Varjazzjonijiet tas-Skiet' rebħet l-Ewwel Premju fil-Konkors Nazzjonali tal-Poeżija Doreen Micallef, organizzat mill-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb. Mifsud ilha involuta f'Inizjamed u fil-Festival Mediterranju tal-Letteratura ta' Malta mill-2011. Hija taħdem bħala għalliema u traduttriċi letterarja.

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