I am not a poetry buff, but I do like to dip into the genre from time to time, if something happens to catch my interest.
This week, I came across a book which I have listed for sale, but couldn’t resist having a glance at, as it is somewhere I visited a few years ago, the island of Malta.
We were only there for a long weekend, to celebrate an anniversary, but had a fantastic time, despite or should that be inspite of, the atrocious standards of rental vehicles, road conditions and Maltese driving.
The weather in April, was fantastic, the coastal scenery astounding, the local people open and friendly and the food of superb quality.
Walking inside the walled City of Mdina and exploring the beauty of St. Paul’s Cathedral, was a fascinating experience, as were the panoramic views across the island from the rooftop cafe, where we relaxed with a cooling drink, after our long climb.
We visited at a time, when the last vestiges of British Garrisons on the island, were being dismantled and the cleared areas redeveloped.
As if to echo this and as we are approaching Remembrance Day, the book I discovered was: ‘Malta Diary Of A War 1940-1945’ by Michael Galea.
Factoid from the Book: On the background of the population figures for the Maltese islands during the war years, it is generally believed that, with the exception of Germany, the Maltese islands had a much higher percentage rate of casualties/deaths through enemy action than Britain, and, therefore, probably greater than in any other country.
Diary entry Sunday 19th September 1943
Squadron Leader John Pudney has published his third wartime book of verse, entitled South of Forty: Poems, which contains the following poem called:-
‘Malta in the blitz days’
“So they trampled in Three Cities about the port,
And Valletta built by gentlemen for gentlemen, and quays
And the garnished churches, and the alleys of stairs
Where noble quarterins passed which could not be bought,
And rooms where parchment faded with the family trees.
So that the carven limestone of the little houses
Clogs the fair prospects, stumbles on the squares,
Wind in an elegian chandelier carouses
A brocaded remnant curdles upon the breeze”.
The book contains several other moving poems and accounts, by sevice personnel, who were on the islands during this period.