Il-Malti jgħid li l-ewwel ma tiekol, l-għajn. U tassew li hekk ġara lili malli rajt il-qoxra, il-qosor tal-kapitli u l-preżentazzjoni ta’ dan il-ktieb. Għalhekk ma ddispjaċinix li xtrajtu għax ir-rakkont ta’ dan ir-rumanz huwa tassew oriġinali.

Matul il-ġrajja ta’ GĦAL DEJJEM … U FTIT tal-awtriċi Helen Borg, jispikka l-element romantiku fejn l-aspett emozzjonanti tal-imħabba joħroġ b’qawwa sopranaturali. Imħabba mitlufa li terġa’ tinstab … anki wara li persuna tiġi nieqsa għal dejjem … u ftit.

Tul ir-rakkont, il-qarrej jiltaqa’ ma’ sekwenzi ta’ ħajjiet li ma jintemmu qatt, imżewqin b’imħabba tassew ġenwina u eterna. U dan minkejja kemm dawn il-persuni jsofru meta jaraw lill-maħbubin tagħhom jitwieldu, jgħixu u jmutu, waqt li huma ma jixjieħu qatt. It-tbatija ta’ dawk li ma jistgħux jgħixu ħajja normali hija notevoli, għax xi drabi huma mċaħħdin mill-imħabba, mill-pjaċiri sempliċi u l-bżonnijiet naturali bħalma huma l-ikel u l-irqad.

U huwa proprju hawnhekk fejn dawn il-ħajjiet isibu ruħhom f’kunflitt meta jinqabdu bejn il-ħajja u l-mewt. F’kuntatt mal-ħajjin u anki ma’ dawk li tinżel tiġborhom il-mewt fejn xi wħud minnhom, jerġgħu jitwieldu biex mill-ġdid jiltaqgħu mal-imħabba ta’ ħajjithom. Għax f’dan ir-rumanz, tassew li l-imħabba ma tmut qatt!

Hawnhekk tajjeb li wieħed isemmi kemm hija interessanti l-ispjegazzjoni li l-awtriċi jirnexxilha tagħti tal-personifikazzjoni tal-mewt. In-nuqqas tal-emozzjonijiet li tesebixxi, kif ma tifhimx x’inhi l-imħabba u x’kapaċi tagħmel biex tiffavorixxi lill-alleati tagħha li għalkemm imdakkrin min-nuqqas tal-ħajja, xorta waħda jibqgħu jgħixu fuq din id-dinja biex ifittxu l-imħabba.

Fir-rumanz ta’ Helen Borg insibu deskrizzjonijiet reali ta’ persuni li ġejjin minn żminijiet ’il bogħod u li jgħixu f’pajjiżi differenti. Rakkonti vivaċi ta’ avvenimenti storiċi magħrufa u li seħħew tassew, ilaqqgħuna ma’ personaġġi importanti li ħallew impatt fuq l-istorja ta’ Malta, kif ukoll tad-dinja. Jidher ċar li biex kitbet dan ir-rumanz, Borg għamlet riċerka estensiva kemm mill-aspett storiku kif ukoll fuq bosta elementi oħrajn, fosthom dawk mistiċi u misterjużi, li lkoll flimkien jagħmlu dan ir-rumanz tassew oriġinali.

Ġrajja ta’ mħabba fantastika fejn is-sorpriżi eċitanti, u speċjalment dawk romantiċi ma jonqsu qatt, għaliex b’mod tassew misterjuż jibqgħu jirrepetu ruħhom għal dejjem … u ftit!

 

Prosit tassew lil din l-awtriċi.

Għal aktar informazzjoni żur is-sit:  www.horizons.com.mt

 

 

Kumment ta’ Michael Cini

 

Reviewing a life in a few words is demanding, but when it concerns one who has bloomed into an icon, it becomes almost impossible.

 

Giovanni Bonello has excelled in various fields, especially his incredibly daunting work on human rights and his prolific intriguing, researched and ever delightful publications. This 215-page book in Maltese, published by Horizons as part of the series ‘Bejn Storja u Miti’, is a potpourri of acclamations and testimonies by 18 writers and an excellent introductory essay by the editor Sergio Grech, all eulogising this outstanding personage.

 

Vanni, as old friends, including myself, call him, is a hero who occupied the front line not for a privileged seat but to carry the battering ram and breach the walls of those who sat in their ivory towers, trying to stampede the inalienable rights of many. He holds the record of defending 170 cases on human rights, and that was when the courts were not always warm to the idea of taking the state to task.

 

Was he fearless? If by fearless, one means bold, Vanni was all that. But fear of reprisals and threats (which he received galore) he must have felt in his heart of hearts. A hero is not one who feels no fear; that would be insensitively stupid. A hero, like Vanni, means having the grit to overcome fear, and make the other side reckon his weight.  Kevin Aquilina offers us a clear account of Vanni’s work for human rights, his militancy as an agent of change, his crusade to establish the supremacy of the constitution, his work as legislative reformer, his personal philosophy of law. This aspect is echoed by other writers, such as Tonio Borg, who as a fresh lawyer was roped in by Vanni to help him research his defence of Mgr Philip Calleja way back in 1975. Those who just read Vanni’s exploits in these articles will get a glimpse of the man, but those who, like me, recall and lived those times, place those adventures within a living context and hence see Vanni the hero in present tense, not past. Way back in 1984, Vanni regularly wrote a whole page on the Sunday Times of Malta, exposing breaches of human rights, and this soon evolved into the mythical Page Thirteen every Sunday. That was the page which was read first.

 

His twelve-year stint in Strasbourg as Judge of the European Court of Human Rights was an extension of the Malta-Vanni, but moulded within an international scenario.

 

Vanni possesses complete command of the English language; literature is in his DNA. His literary expression is often personal, pungent and humorous, so in Strasbourg he frequently stunningly expressed his personal views in terms which were new to the judiciary world. What was normally a dry judgement, he turned into legal literature of the first kind, both in essence and style. His fellow judges wrote of him in glowing terms, such as ‘ my super hero’, gifted with the ‘rare distinction of being an amazing, stirring read.’  His dissenting judgements were exceptionally published by Judge (later Court President) Nicolas Bratza and leading authority on Human Rights law Michael O’Boyle, at a time when Vanni was still serving on the bench. First time ever!

 

Vanni is terrified of being mistaken, so he holds back until he is absolutely certain. He was always like this. Enrico Scicluna and Paul Xuereb, both lawyers and old friends, vouch for this in their very interesting  contributions.

 

He has published a large number of articles, many of which have been included in his series of volumes Histories of Malta. These have earned him several Best Writer Awards in Malta. He is sometimes shocking (a nun murdering another nun), innovative (the correct surname of De Valette), bordering on the offensive, and lambasting revered or hallowed personalities, such as bishops, grand masters and several so-called heroes.  But always supported with documentation.

 

A pioneer in introducing micro Maltese history, his contributions are always a pleasure to read. He does not merely expose facts but fashions his expressions in a particular Bonellian manner. He narrates history and does not fail to spray home-made interjections to emphasise a point. One particular sentence comes to mind. Writing about when the British agreed to send to France a collection in the Museum of Natural History, he comments: ‘The British paid a debt they did not owe with assets they did not own.’  Very  apt. Very Bonellian!

 

And yet he insists he is not a writer. According to him, a writer deals with creativity and imagination. This is one of the very few points I disagree with Vanni. A writer is one who expresses his thoughts, facts, belief, disbeliefs in a fresh and entertaining manner, which entices the reader to continue. That is exactly Vanni, whatever he may care to say.

 

Maroma Camilleri, the gentle lady who has helped so many find their way through the meshed brambles of research in the Bibliotheca, and who very often is included in Vanni’s acknowledgments at the end of an article, relates Vanni’s methods of research and introduces us to the main classification of volumes left by the Knights.

 

In spite of what some may feel about Vanni, I know him as one who loves a good laugh, in spite of what his formal attire, inordinately grown moustache (and now also a beard) may mislead you to imagine. He can be a very outgoing person but Vanni has built an electrified double fence, protecting his innermost thoughts and feelings. I would have loved to read more about this aspect in this book. For example, he is quoted as saying that he has written many poems where he bares his inner-self, but is determined destroy them before he leaves humanity’s company. He is afraid we would know his fears, his doubts and his innermost soul. He is what I would call ‘solo nella folla’. All his Histories of Malta volumes contain an introductory short poem. That could have been an interesting article to start burrowing into the inner Vanni, unless of course he has published those short poems because they do not bare his soul. They are all exceptionally incisive. “You asked yourself: What do I lose / by dying ? Forgiving / the oblivion of submergence, I ask: / what do I lose by living?”  Phrases like ‘I have a whole lifetime to die’ or ‘only in death there is tomorrow’, or ‘it is fatiguing to be dead’, or ‘ I have befriended death, and know a great desire of evening.’ Hauntingly evocative!

 

Even though he refers to the Bill of Rights in the Blood Constitution of 1961 as the spark which kindled his interest in human rights, I am sure the shamefully illegal exile of his father, Vincenzo, in Uganda with my cousin/uncle Herbert Ganado and company, grafted a wound in his heart which may have healed but has retained its scar. This book contains an excellent 34-page article by Simon Mercieca on Vincenzo Bonello. A gentleman, a true Christian, and art specialist if ever there was one. He was the first curator of Arts in the Museum Department and was instrumental in the opening of the first Museum of Arts. Vincenzo managed to acquire paintings by several well-known artists, including Honthorst, Stomers, Magnasco and Botticelli and added them to Malta’s national collection. Alas, this honour was short- lived. Without any charge or proof he was sacked from his office and exiled against the dictates of the Malta Courts which had considered these actions illegal. Vincenzo was instrumental in the opening of Malta’s first school of Arts which offered novel assistance to budding Maltese artists. He would have raised the art scene in Malta to much greater heights had not the foul- mouthed whispering of a Maltese gravitated such a wicked conclusion. Vincenzo Bonello deserves a fully-blown biography to place him on the pedestal he rightfully deserves.

 

Vanni is not only an established avid collector of old photographs but actually experiments with digital photography without retouching. Daniel Cilia shares with us some interesting results and hints at Bonello’s technique.

 

This book is not to be missed. Giovanni Bonello is determined not to write his autobiography. Some one else must do so. This publication is one small step in that direction.

 

By Philip Farrugia Randon

Dar-Riħ Malizzjuż hija s-sitt ġabra ta’ poeżiji ta’ John P. Portelli. Din il-ġabra, ippubblikata minn Horizons, fiha 43 poeżija miktuba bil-vers endekasillabu. Dan hu ktieb uniku u innovattiv għax huwa l-ewwel ktieb bil-Malti li f’kull paġna hemm kodiċi QR li bih tista’ tisma’ l-poeżija tinqara minn Celaine Buhagiar u l-awtur innifsu. Barra minn hekk, il-kunċett artistiku u d-disinn tal-ktieb b’qoxra iebsa hu xogħol l-artist Malti ta’ fama internazzjonali, Dr. Trevor Borg, lettur fl-Università ta’ Malta.

 

L-idea tal-użu tal-kodiċi QR ġiet imnebbħa mill-fatt li Portelli għandu ħbieb li tilfu l-vista, kif ukoll mill-fatt li Portelli jemmen bis-sħiħ fil-ħsieb u l-prattika tal-inklużjoni. Portelli, li emigra għall-Kanada fl-1977, illum huwa Professur Emeritus fl-Università ta’ Toronto wara li mill-1982 għallem il-filosofija u l-ġustizzja soċjali fil-politika u t-tmexxija tal-edukazzjoni f’erba’ universitajiet. Portelli, li jgħix f’Malta u f’Toronto u anki lil hinn, huwa awtur ukoll ta’ żewġ ġabriet ta’ novelli kif ukoll ir-rumanz Kulħadd barra Fajża, li din is-sena ħareġ ukoll bl-Ingliż, Everyone but Fajza, maqlub għall-Ingliż minn Irene Mangion u ppubblikat minn Horizons (Malta) u Word and Deed Publishers (il-Kanada), bl-għajnuna finanzjarja tal-Kunsill Malti tal-Ktieb. Ħames kotba tiegħu ġew short listed għall-Premju Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb Malti. Portelli spiss jiġi mistieden biex jaqra f’serati letterarji kemm f’Malta kif ukoll f’Toronto. Il-poeżiji tiegħu nqalbu għall-Ingliż, il-Franċiż, il-Grieg, l-Għarbi, il-Farsi, ir-Rumen, il-Pollakk, il-Korean u ċ-Ċiniż.

 

Kummenti dwar Dar-Riħ Malizzjuż

 

Il-poeżija ta’ John P. Portelli hija poeżija lirika, maqlugħa – mhux mingħajr tbatija – minn ġewwieni profond li fih tistaħba nostalġija li f’waqt hija ħarba u f’ieħor kundanna, imma f’kull waqt fiha sens li t-tifsila ta’ kwalunkwe ġejjieni hija msensla fuq il-mit ta’ mgħoddi li ħarab u li mill-prisma tal-lum jidher bogħod millenarju, anki jekk dejjem persistenti. Fil-poeżija ta’ Portelli, in-nostalġija tkellimna permezz tas-sensi, u waqt li qed naqraw, naraw, inxommu, nisimgħu, intiegħmu, kważi saħansitra mmissu b’idejna din id-dinja nostalġika, trejjaħ is-sajf, il-baħar, qalb l-għelieqi mperrċin fuq l-irdumijiet.

 

Aleks Farrugia

 

Il-poeżija ta’ John P. Portelli taqbad l-esperjenza temporanjament konkreta tal-kampanja ta’ art twelidu u tar-raħal fejn trabba, irriżaltati mid-diqa ta’ qalb f’ruħ eżiljata minnha bil-bogħod u bil-mogħdija ineżorabbli taż-żmien. Il-passat u l-ħarba taż-żmien f’Malta li qed tinbidel b’għaġġla, filwaqt li hu mġiegħel iħallihom warajh, iqanqlu fih traċċi ta’ delikatezza intensa. Huwa attent għal dettalji żgħar ħafna fl-habitat naturali ta’ Malta, sal-iżgħar fjuri u bebbux, għalkemm huma l-burdati infiniti tal-baħar u tar-riħ li l-aħjar jimmarkaw dawk tiegħu. Madankollu, din tiegħu mhijiex poeżija ta’ deskrizzjoni imma waħda li twaħħad l-interrelazzjonijiet kważi tanġibbli tiegħu mal-ambjent tiegħu u ma’ niesu, f’xi waqtiet liriċi, f’waqtiet oħrajn muġugħa. L-użu raffinat tal-ilsien Malti juri sensittività li qarrej attent ma jistax ma jħossux imqanqal minnu.

 

Maria Grech Ganado

 

Bejn it-twemmin u t-tellieqa

 

Irrid l-ewwel nett ngħid li għandi żewġ xbihat distinti ta’ Jonathan Balzan immarkati f’moħħi, jew forsi huma xbieha waħda mlibbsa f’żewġ suriet differenti – lil Jonathan niftakru għaddej itellaq qalb it-toroq tar-raħal, wiċċu ruxxan u b’pass ma jaqta’ xejn. Kultant għaddej minn Triq it-Tabib Nicola Zammit fis Siġġiewi, fejn trabbejt jien – u nafu jaqra l-poeżija tiegħu f’għadd ta’ serati ta’ qari li inzertajna qed naqraw xogħolna fihom. Nafuh ilkoll bħala atleta ta’ suċċess, rebbieħ ta’ maratoni, li kiser diversi records u għamel isem għalih innifsu f’dan il-qasam, kemm f’Malta u wkoll lil hinn minnha. Dan il-preambolu qed nagħmlu għax ma’ Jonathan għandi dawn il-memorji ta’ ħbiberija li jġibuna flimkien. Imma hawnhekk se naqsam ħsieb jew tnejn fuq il-poeżija ta’ Jonathan Balzan – dik il-materja li finalment tibqa’ usa’, inqas frivola u allura aktar bnedmija minn kull illużjoni li aħna l-bnedmin jista’ qatt ikollna dwarna nfusna.

 

X’jiġri meta bħala qarrejja nidħlu, kisknijiet, flunivers uniku ta’ poeta-atleta? Anzi, ħa nikteb iddomanda mill-ġdid: X’jiġrilna meta l-poeżija jfettlilha ttellaq magħna, jew inkella ġo fina? U din li se naqraw f’dan il-ktieb hija poeżija li qed ittellaq, jew atletika li qed tinkiteb? Mhumiex mistoqsijiet faċli dawn, għax jorbtu b’qilla kbira mal-kwistjoni tal-poetika bħala kenn minn dak li għadna ma nafux. Imma, ejja talinqas nibdew.

 

Dawn huma poeżiji li qegħdin jitolbu – li fihom il-poetika tat-talba, u li minnhom tingħaraf fidi li tinstab fl-azzjoni tat-talba nfisha. La titqarrqux – it-talba ta’ Balzan, filwaqt li hi ħosbiena, mhix waħda supplikanti. Bħalma naqraw, pereżempju, fil-poeżija ‘Kultant, Mulej’, din hi talba mill-aktar assertiva u dinamika. Talba li mhux dejjem taf fejn se tispiċċa, imma li taf eżatt minn fejn bdiet u minn fejn għaddiet biex waslet biex tlissen il-kelmiet li għandna quddiemna f’dan il-ktieb. Forsi hi talba atletika – għax spiss, bħal fil-poeżija ‘Hi’, insibu sekwenzi li fihom ir-ritmu tal-vers hu sinkronizzat mill-qrib ħafna mat-taħbit tal-qalb – bħal donnu l-atleta jieqaf jiċċekkja r-rata tat-taħbit kardijaku, tad-distanza li għamel, u jispiċċa jsib fihom grammatika li fil-fatt tispelli l-binja eżistenzjali tiegħu. F’dan is-sens, ilvers jirbaħ fuq il-ġisem, anke jekk b’nanosekonda.

 

Spiss, Balzan jorganizza l-esperjenza tiegħu f’ritmi qosra u skjetti, kważi stakkati. Dawn huma poeżiji animati bit-tqanqila fiżika tal-qalb waqt l-isport, iva. Iżda Balzan jintervjeni proprju hawn, biex ifassal mit-tferfir sportiv tal-qalb allegorija ta’ ħajtu u aktar minn hekk, inissel minn dan it-taħbit relazzjoni qariba mat-twegħir tar-ruħ, wieħed li minnu nnifsu hu kostanti tal-inqas daqs il-pass tal-maratona. Fidi u sport: kultant, il-poeżija ta’ Balzan hi atleta, drabi oħra akrobata. Però, fit-tnejn li huma, din hi poeżija li ssib virtù fil-ħeffa, u spiss tiftaħ spazju ta’ ħsieb kajman qalb il-ħeffa, anzi tikxef il-potenzjal tal-ħeffa bħala spazju jew wisa’ li hu profondament ħassieb.

 

Għax aħna u naqraw l-indirizz ta’ Balzan lejn alter ego sagru, pereżempju, jew aħna u nsegwu r-ritmu sod li bih Balzan jesprimi s-sens ta’ ħajja kontemporanja li kif jikteb Theodor Adorno, hi “difettuża” b’għadd ta’ modi, insibu tifsira tal-ħeffa li fl-istess waqt tirrifjuta l-għaġla kbira li jimponi fuqna l-preżent. Il-poetika tal-moviment għalhekk tipproponi ruħha bħala alternattiva għall-problematika ta’ preżent bla sabar. Il-motivi l-kbar tal-fidi – il-maħfra, il-mixja spiritwali, it-tama, u l-perseveranza talisportiv daqskemm tal-poeta kredenti, jikkomponu l-kuxjenza tar-ruħ atletika. Din hi kuxjenza li tibni: l-akrobata  nfisha, imbagħad, tfittex li “tibni l-mewt” bħala l-ħidma kontinwa ta’ ħajjitna, kif jikteb tajjeb Michel de Montaigne, u kif fil-fatt niskopru aħna u naqraw poeżiji bħal ‘Lejn l-Addolorata’. F’poeżiji oħra, bħal ‘Fuq spallejja’, Balzan jikteb li “Meta ħsieb il-mewt / jagħfas fuq spallejja / nifhem li nkun filqrib / tal-ispjegazzjoni / bejn l-imġarrab u l-mistur’.

 

Is-solitudni li toħroġ minn dan l-imkien imbejjen hi wkoll il-kundanna tal-bniedem – tagħna kollha – jiġifieri dik li spiss insibu rwieħna ntellqu waħedna. Balzan imma, juża dan l-abbandun proprju biex, bħala poeta, ma jabbandunaniex. Balzan iressqilna, anzi, forma ta’ refuġju attiv. Dan hu l-għarfien li fit-tħejjija sportiva tal-ġisem diġà tinstab id-dinamika bażika tat-twemmin – jiġifieri li wara t-tellieqa, hemm tistenniena poeżija.

 

Kumment ta’

Dr Norbert Bugeja

Senior Lecturer fl-Università ta’ Malta

Kumment ta’ John Baldacchino

 

Il-ġmiel u r-rikorrenza f’forom ta’ imwiet żgħar huwa l-binarju indirett li jsostni l-poetika ta’ John Buttigieg. Kif iwegħedna hu stess, Jifridna biss is-skiet hija “l-aħħar fażi poetika” tiegħu, għalkemm hawn, it-tmiem huwa wieħed ta’ tqala poetika li tħabbar wild fil-ġejjieni immedjat tal-lum ta’ kuljum. Mhux biss f’sens ta’ fidi, imma wkoll f’dik li hija forma poetika, Buttigieg jagħżel dak li bih l-univers jiċċekken bl-istess sens kenotiku li bih ħafna jixxenqu għall-maħfra u r-redenzjoni.

 

Jekk f’din il-fidwa se nħabbru xi forma ta’ għajbien, dan jinstab fil-preżenza li f’kull poeżija tipprova ssib kenn. Dan il-kenn jieħu forma ta’ f’tiftix li jixbah lil dawk iż-żjarat li fil-ħajja ta’ kuljum ma jidhrux siewja daqs kemm huwa l-għarfien tal-ambigwità li tagħmilhom. Għalkemm dan kollu jinstema’ pjuttost astratt, fil-poetika ta’ Buttigieg insibu materjalità tanġibbli u prattika hekk kif miegħu aħna lkoll ngħixu ħajjitna jum b’jum. F’kull poeżija hemm sens familjari, u allura ġenerożità li biha il-poeta jistedinna nifhmu l-għemejjel tagħna bħala bnedmin.

 

Huwa f’dan is-sens ta’ għemejjel (poetiċi imma wkoll komuni) li r-rikorrenza tmur lil hinn minn xi espressjoni ta’ poter jew volontà, imma fejn, f’sens estetiku—f’narrativa ta’ ġmiel – l-arti poetika ttarrafna b’dak li dejjem se jiġi “wara.” Dan l-ordni poetiku jindika wkoll kif l-esperjenza ta’ kuljum nagħrfuha f’kulma nagħmlu u f’dak li għad irridu nagħmlu (anke jekk ħafna drabi ma nafux x’se jkun). Ma’ Buttigieg mhux qed inżuru dinjiet straordinarji jew diffiċli. Anzi, qed ngħixu ħajjiet li huwa jislet mill-istess imwiet żgħar ta’ kuljum, fejn kull waħda u wieħed minna nfittxu sens dejjiemi ta’ ġmiel u allura ta’ dak li b’mod divers inqisu b’tajjeb u veru.

 

John Baldacchino. Professur fl-Università ta’ Wisconsin-Madison u awtur ta’ Sejjieħ il-Ħsieb: Limitu u Ħelsien (2020).

IN  THE  JUDEAN  DESERT

 

Commentary by Tony Cassar Darien

 

Jim Crace’s fifth novel Quarantine is a novel-fable that relates a highly imaginative account of Jesus Christ’s forty-day sojourn in the wilderness that is the Judean desert.

Of course the evangelists Mark, Matthew and Luke have referred to this curious episode in their Gospels, while Milton’s short epic, Paradise Regained, has expanded on this bizarre happening where Jesus resists all the wily temptations proferred to Him by the Prince of Darkness.

Crace’s Jesus is a far cry from the images drawn by the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico and many of the other masters. Neither does He resemble the genre as depicted by the big budget Sword-and-Sandle epics like Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, The Robe and other blockbusters, released by Hollywood in the late fifties and early sixties.

This Jesus is a very ordinary young peasant from Galilee whose too facile piousness unnerves even his parents. When He abandons His family’s carpentry business in search of God, He exiles Himself to the utter barreness, and the glaring heat that marks the Judean desert. He seeks out a desolate cave hewn out of tough rock and from where he rarely emerges. It is where he plans to encounter and get to know His God during His planned forty days of quarantine, aided and abetted by silence, solitude, meditation and sheer hardship.

However, the savage cragged wilderness is also home to an assortment of other quarantiners. These include Musa, a stout, arrogant, lecherous merchant whose long suffering wife, Miri, has left him for dead in his lavish tent. In walking away from her moribund husband, Miri feels relieved and excited about the prospects that lie in store for her, in a liberated life, free from the detestable relationship  of her oppressive hubby.

Marta is a handsome, prosperous but barren woman who yearns above everything else to conceive. Shim is a self-absorbed ascetic; and Aphas, an elderly jew, is diseased with cancer.

After Jesus, Who seems to have been obsessed with being a healer, succeeds in bringing Musa back to life, the bullying merchant strives to dominate the other quarantiners, by convincing them that he is their lord and they thus own him their everlasting tribute. (Since this fictional novel purports to be a reconstruction of the Biblical story, such a nasty character is an obvious allegory of Satan.) Musa’s only problem lies with Jesus, Whose unpredictability confounds him. In turn Jesus constantly tries to avoid any form of contact with the other quarantiners by venturing as little as possible, from of his cave of solitude.

The crux of Crace’s mystical plot, elegantly expressed in an elegant and powerful prose, describes how these six desert dwellers relate with one another.

Seasoned poet and writer Charles Flores, who has a degree in Theology from the University of Malta, has admirably succeeded into adding a Maltese translation to the already existing twenty-versions of Crace’s opus. Nothing about this story is quite straightforward. It is compiled from bits and chunks of many subjects. There’s nature, divinity, science, heat, hunger and thirst, man’s strengths, weaknesses and obsessions with the gods of our faith or our making. Not one given easily to generalisations, whom I consider even more odious than comparisons, I must confess to being struck by how both the terminology and the vernacular, as employed by Flores, have managed to convey the author’s original intentions, while registering a smooth transparency throughout the myriad of cultural and regional differences between the languages.

Published by Horizon Books in a hardback edition, the book features a handsome dustjacket based on an attractive painting in oil on canvas by Gozitan artist Aaron Formosa, aptly entitled The Temptation of Christ. The original work is exhibited at Muzew il-Hagar, Rabat, Gozo.

 

 

 

Realtà u Fantasija għal-Lum

Charles Briffa

(Ġorġ Peresso, l-aħħar Warda, Horizons, Malta, 2021)

 

Ġorġ Peresso, f’l-aħħar Warda (li huwa xogħol klassiku ta’ żmienna), jittratta r-realtà, u biex jiddilja mar-realtà jħaddem il-fantasija magħġuna mal-filosofija, is-simboliżmu, u r-reliġjon.

 

Ir-realtà

Ir-realtà f’dan ir-rumanz narawha f’dehriet bħal ta’ raġel kasbari li jipprova jirrejpja tfajla għax sabiħa (dehra li għandha ħafna mill-ħrafa ta’ Little Red Riding Hood) u bħal ta’ bulldozer imżarġna li tikklirja ġmiel wied. U narawha wkoll (ir-realtà) żgur f’temi bħas-sens ta’ ġustizzja, is-sens ta’ ħajja u mewt, il-valur tal-lingwa, il-valur tas-skiet – temi li jissieħbu u jitwaħħdu ma’ dawk viżjonarji li jfittxu fl-astratt u fil-fantastiku dak li jista’ jmur ’l hemm minn dak li hu normali jew tas-soltu; temi li jaslu sax-xfar tal-mistiku għax f’dan it-twaħħid jitqanqal it-tħassib li jressaq f’ġustapożizzjoni (fost oħrajn) il-fidi mad-dubju u d-dehen artistiku mal-kilba għall-flus.

 

Hawnhekk Peresso joqrob ħafna lejn Herman Hesse (1877-1962) li kien affettwat bil-bosta bil-mistiċiżmu tal-filosofija tal-Lvant. Huwa twaħħid li jagħraf li l-ġmiel huwa xejra ewlenija tal-verità – tema li tissieħeb mal-poeżija Ode on a Grecian Urn ta’ John Keats (1795-1821: “beauty is truth, truth beauty”). F’Peresso l-ġmiel tan-natura huwa verità spiritwali; anki l-ħajt tas-sejjieħ għandu jkun irrispettat għax għandu “ġebel li kennen ġnien, is-siġar, u l-fjuri” u ma jixraqlux ikun “imżeblaħ”.

 

Dan kollu huwa parti mir-realtà ta’ moħħ Peresso u huwa l-qofol ta’ ruħ in-narrattiva f’dan ix-xogħol.

 

Il-fantasija

Fil-kreattività tiegħu, Peresso jieħu mid-dinja klassika r-rabta tal-fantasija mad-divin. U l-poeżija invażiva tiegħu tagħti leħħiet lejn il-preżent li ma nafuhx (jew, jekk trid, lejn xi futur tal-qrib). Jagħtina fantasija moderna biex jistgħalla l-għarfien tar-realtà ta’ żmienna; fi kliem ieħor, sabiex jagħti varjetà ta’ perspettivi ġodda tad-dinja tagħna. Din il-fantasija turina l-attitudnijiet kif jistgħu jinbidlu u li moħħna jista’ jaffordja għarfien fix-xejriet simboliċi tal-ħsieb li ninqdew bihom bħala filter biex nipproċessaw il-perċezzjonijiet tagħna.

 

Is-saħħa tar-rumanz titqawwa bil-ħrejjef. Peresso jinqeda bl-elementi tal-ħrafa ta’ Little Red Riding Hood – imma jsemmi ħrejjef u leġġendi oħra bħall-istejjer ta’ Snow White u s-seba’ nani, tal-funtana taż-żgħożija, il-ġrajja tal-lupu mqareb f’Gubbio immansat minn San Franġisk ta’ Assisi, u dik ta’ Simurg.

 

Jekk niffokaw fuq Carmen li kienet tħobb tilbes l-aħmar (bħal Little Red Riding Hood), nistgħu nispekulaw psikoanalitikament u ngħidu li t-tfajla kienet fil-pubertà tagħha: l-aħmar li kienet tħobb tilbes jista’ jissimbolizza l-period tat-tfajliet u l-bidu tas-sesswalità tagħha. Insibu karattri komplementari bħan-nanna, l-omm, u l-missier (kif insibu f’Little Red Riding Hood) li jissimbolizzaw l-aspetti differenti tal-ġenituri.

 

Meta r-raġel ħajjen u għawli (in-Nagħġu) jipprova jirrejpjaha lit-tfajla innoċenti liebsa l-aħmar, din titgħallem li mill-estremità tal-imħabba tista’ tgħaddi għall-imrar u qrusa definita. Imma din il-firda bejn it-tajjeb u l-ħażin taffettwa sew lil Carmen għax in-Nagħġu qatlilha s-sens ta’ mħabba għall-irġiel ħlief għal missierha. Kien Wolff (l-ismijiet hawnhekk jidħlu ironikament fil-ġrajja) li ġabilha lura l-fiduċja fl-irġiel; warajh kompla Yorgos. Carmen lil Wolff l-ewwel ratu bħala missierha, imbagħad ħaditu bħala maħbub. Donnu hemm ħjiel ta’ interpretazzjoni Oedipali fis-simboliżmu sesswali tar-rumanz jekk aħna nieħdu lil Wolff bħala s-sesswalità tal-missier: il-missier-wulf li jinġibed sesswalment lejn bintu jikseb ix-xewqa tiegħu li jħobbha sesswalment.

 

Kuntrasti

Din in-narrattiva taħdem b’mod effettiv f’dawk l-aspetti ta’ kuntrarju u ta’ kuntrast. Ngħidu aħna, l-isem “Wied Ilpup” għall-bidu jagħti impressjoni ta’ biża’ u twegħir, però mbagħad insibu l-maqlub għax fih hemm il-ġnien tar-razzett bil-ward sabiħ u l-kenn tal-imħabba. Mill-banda l-oħra, “Nagħġu” (bis-suffiss tal-laqmijiet) jagħtina l-impressjoni ta’ xi ħadd ġwejjed u kwiet, imma malajr nintebħu li dan il-karattru huwa lupu liebes ta’ nagħġa (Mt.7:15); jiġifieri, jilgħab parti li hija l-maqlub tal-karattru veru tiegħu u min imiss miegħu jkun qed jilgħabha – huwa bniedem falz; taħt il-ġilda ta’ nagħġa hemm moħħ ħajjen u fejjieti ta’ lupu. Anki fid-diskors bejn il-karattri hemm il-kuntrast: il-maniġer ġenerali ta’ ħu Carmen jitkellem fuq “ftehim kummerċjali u legali” li għaliha huwa “tradiment”.

 

Fil-kuntest sħiħ tan-narrattiva, l-għemil tan-Nagħġu li jipprova jirrejpja lis-sbejħa jidħol f’ġustapożizzjoni mal-istupru tal-art li jġib is-setgħan bil-krejnijiet u l-gafef monstrużi; u jqegħedilna b’urġenza l-idea li “l-azzar, bħall-konkrit, m’għandux qalb. Kif għandhom il-fjuri” (p.169) – l-urġenza tinsab fit-tlaqqigħ ma’ xulxin tal-azzar bla qalb mal-fjuri bil-qalb.

 

Peresso jħobb idaħħal f’ġustapożizzjoni dehriet għat-tħassib tagħna: il-ħoss tal-mużika klassika jitlaqqa’ mal-istorbju tas-serrieq arroganti li jħanxar is-siġar; id-dedikazzjoni ta’ min jiżra’ fl-art biż-żegħil titlaqqa’ mal-arroganza ta’ min ikabbar il-konkrit fl-għelieqi u jbiddel “is-sbuħija fi qligħ” (p.235); il-krib tal-ħajt tas-sejjieħ jitlaqqa’ mal-konkrit, briks, u azzar tal-monstri bla gost. Ukoll, Peresso jqegħdilna ġmiel il-ġnien mogħni bil-fwieħa tal-imħabba mal-qerda qalila tal-monstri tal-konkrit. U malajr Wolff (li jħobb l-ambjent) jidħol f’kuntrast mas-sinjur tal-konsorzju (li jrid jeqred l-ambjent bil-konkrit).

 

Il-fantasija, f’dan ir-rumanz, hija tajba biex noqogħdu naħsbu biha – u turina kif l-awtur ħaseb fuq ħajtu. Ir-rumanz ta’ Peresso (maħdum ukoll bħala radjudramm fuq Campus FM) ma jippritkax imma jitħaddet mal-bniedem f’nisġa kumplessa kulturali. Iġorr qawwa psikoloġika vitali li taħkem l-immaġinazzjoni tal-qarrejja.

 

Peresso huwa awtur ta’ suġġeriment, ta’ sfumatura, ta’ intimazzjoni.

 

 

Leħen mix-Xagħri Maħqur –

Paul P.Borg bl-Ekofilosofija Letterarja,

Charles Briffa

Horizons, 2021

 

 

Dan il-ktieb huwa fuq xi affarijiet li ġraw fil-letteratura Maltija mill-aħħar tliet deċennji tas-seklu 20 sa tmiem it-tieni deċennju tas-seklu 21. B’mod aktar eżatt, huwa fuq awtur, Paul P.Borg, li qatagħha li jkattar il-valuri tal-letteratura meta jitkellem f ’isem il-magħkus. U f ’dawk il-valuri tidher ixxewqa li l-awtur irid isir bniedem aħjar billi jkun aktar ġenwin miegħu nnifsu.

 

Borg għandu relazzjoni mal-ambjent. Jidher ambjentalist. U dan il-ktieb (fost ħwejjeġ oħra) jipprova jifli ftit kif illetteratura li jikteb Borg tippriserva din l-identita ambjentalista. Imma fil-proċess jikxef ħajtu ġewwiena f ’xogħlu. Huwa studju organizzat madwar il-letteratura u jikxef il-karatteristiċi talistil mentali. Fil-programm għal-letteratura tiegħu l-kelma ssir strument ta’ qawwa u ċarezza fis-servizz tal-kontemporanjeta skont kif jifhimha Borg. Il-kitba tiegħu taqdi ħtieġa għax tesplojtja kondizzjonijiet ta’ mentalita kontemporanja u kull darba toffri perċezzjoni li tħassibna fuq il-mod ta’ ħajja u burdati li nsibu fostna fi żmienna. U mix-xejriet li jixirfu mil-letteratura tiegħu (li spiss tipprova tmerrek il-ħsieb konvenzjonali jew kollettiv) nistgħu nkomplu nikkaratterizzaw lilna nfusna llum.

 

Imma biex jinftiehem dan il-ktieb ix-xogħlijiet ta’ Borg iridu jinqraw bis-sabar u l-ħsieb. Il-letteratura ta’ Borg turina b’mod sostanzjali l-ħsieb eżistenzjali tiegħu. Hija kitba bbażata fuq ir-riflessjoni li trid tikkonkretizza l-ħsieb bl-istħajjil kreattiv. Hija letteratura li tgħaqqad l-għajxien mal-ħsieb. Fil-proża kreattiva u filpoeżiji jesponi l-proċess intimu tal-ħsieb bi xrar suġġestiv ħalli jesplora esperjenzi vitali li jnixxu mill-bniedem meta jiltaqa’ mal-ambjent tiegħu. Meta Borg jirriduċi ruħu għal ħsieb letterarju jippenetra fil-karatteristiċi tal-kontemporanjeta, bħala dak il-bniedem li jaħfen l-għerf bħala ħaġa prattika u mhux bħala ħaġa astratta.

 

Il-qofol ta’ awtur bħal Borg jinsab f ’xi qagħda li għandu x’jaqsam magħha l-bniedem. U l-awtur jagħraf x’xorta ta’ eżistenza jkun hemm. Ikun hemm eżistenza ta’ qerda u eżistenza ta’ ħarsien mill-qerda. Ix-xogħol tal-letteratura huwa li teħles ċertu għerf fuq il-ħajja bil-ħila ta’ attivita kreattiva li minnha jittawwal moħħ riflettiv li jipprova jkun mhux sempliċiment spettatur imma partiċipant fil-bidla għall-ġid aħħari tal-umanita.

 

Hekk Borg jitqies ħassieb li bħala individwu li jeżisti jagħtina r-realtà interna tiegħu. Hija realtà (misluta millesperjenza tal-eżistenza personali) li sseħħ fit-tiġrib talħassieb. U kultant id-dinja tidher ambigwa u Borg jagħtina xi probabilitajiet. Għalih il-probabilità hija x’aktarx il-gwida tal-ħajja. Donnha l-letteratura tiegħu turi attitudni jew perspettiva oħra. Din hija l-qawwa ta’ Borg għax b’hekk iġib dimensjoni ta’ raġuni.

The Consolations of Displacement

Some thoughts on John P. Portelli’s Imkien Għall-Kenn (Horizons 2020)

 

John Baldacchino

 

Knowing John Portelli’s work well, I am never sure if he is actually a pilgrim, a lost wanderer, a bedouin, a converso or even a corsair. Maybe he is all of them, but surely the American on a deckchair who confesses to him: “you’re undoubtedly a Jew’ (int żgur lhudi, p. 61) was not that far off the mark, by the same token that he is taken for a Palestinian in Haifa. (p. 52)

 

A collection of fifty-one poems written in eleven different countries, Portelli’s Imkien Għall-Kenn offers no real comfort except that of nomadic displacement. Whether by imkien he means somewhere or nowhere is not clear; just as he goes all hermetic on his readers when he speaks of kenn which seems to imply some kind of shelter from the nomadic existence that he leads (as an academic, a migrant, a poet … ). Perhaps, we have to wait to ascertain whether this refuge of his could ever turn into a curious sort of haven. However, I would be more inclined to suggest that his choice is to move within the interstices of such states of mind without impressing any fixed abode on his readers.

 

As one is indulged by what Portelli has on offer for his readers, one cannot but dance to a rhythm that is as furtive and illegal as the zeibekiko (once the manges’ favourite dance, those bandits to whom modern Greeks still pay homage with the deep nostalgia and longing that bring to mind the mesmerising voice of the late Dimitris Mitropanos and before him the legendary Vassilis Tsitsanis). And like those who scoured the Mediterranean—from Odysseus to Aeneas, Erotokritos to St. Paul, and all manner of refugees seeking some meaning in life, Portelli invites us to travel through a region that implicitly defies the reverence by which we mistakenly worship the arts as if they warrant such piety.

 

Portelli’s pain is not only intended to reveal a paradoxical state of affairs. It is also meant to throw us off guard, as we read: “bejn hawn u hemm / baħar jaqsam / id-dar mirduma / bagalji minsija.” [hither and thither, a sea’s divide, a house buried, luggage forgotten, p. 112] If indeed such journeys are borne out of a restless sense of return, a homecoming; such a sense of homecoming does recur, but only because what is promised is an eternal anxiety caused by the same place we hopelessly yearn for – knowing very well that such a place does not exist.

 

Because hope is often dishonest, Portelli refuses to simply provoke his readers. Rather, he treats them to a bitter coffee in the sweet whereabouts of Palestine. (“jinżilli għasel dal-kafè morr / f’kull għodwa tal-palestina” [it tastes so good this bitter coffee, everyday in palestine, p. 62]); as if one could expect anything sweet from the history of a region marked by tragedy and hatred, by a flow of refugees, fleeing endless cycles of wars and tragedy (“das-serbut ta’ rifuġjati” [this line of refugees, p. 62]).

 

Reading Imkien Għall-Kenn one imagines a long itinerary, from North Africa to the Middle East, to the Balkans, round to Italy and Spain, and back to that origin, which once Pawlu Montebello fashioned on the navel of the Great Mother Inanna, l-Omm il-Kbira, whose womb was carved out of limestone in Ħal Saflieni. But then, just as you thought that Portelli would be, as it were, of this land and this land only, off he goes to Quebec City, only to be shaken by a shooting, with six dead and two men arrested: “allahhu l-karim/fejn hi l-ħniena/tal-insara?” [God is generous, where is Christian mercy? p. 98]

 

Yet it is wrong to peg Portelli’s work on the errant ways by which his beautiful poetry takes us around those places and waters that bring us so much sense of belonging. I’d rather close this brief reflection by drawing the reader’s attention to the aesthetic of John Portelli’s work.

 

John’s poetics come in a regular flow, and yet there is a gradual unfolding of aesthetic considerations which he accrues through all his books of poetry. I find this inherent in how he plays with Maltese without being nebulous or impenetrable. Portelli has a way of using words that we all use in common parlance, but which come in combinations that betray something other than what we think they say, though without being unnecessarily mysterious. Portelli’s work is not hidden even when I do sense a hermetic character that I would attribute to formal decisions.

 

Portelli’s poetic form is invested in surprising elements by which he depicts a simple situation in miniature form through wit, sometimes with humour, but always moved by an acute sense of probing and curiosity. Beauty is worn on this poet’s sleeve, and this is where I would not hesitate to call Portelli’s work as being characterized by an honest kind of beauty by which readers are immediately taken. Yet this honesty is never benign—just as the comely waters of the Mediterranean always have a way of being surprisingly forbidding.

 

John Baldacchino is a Professor of Art & Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

 

Il-Verità bħala stil ta’ ħajja

Reċensjoni tal-ktieb: Meta r-Ruħ tintbill fid-Deheb

Horizons, 2021

 

minn Robert Farrugia Flores.

 

Bosta mistiċi, u kif ukoll xi filosfi b’rashom fuq għonqhom u qalbhom f’postha, għarfu l-bżonn u d-dmir li persuna tidħol fiha nnfisha u timmedita sabiex tagħraf u tagħti spazju lill-ħajja tal-ispirtu. Minn dawn tal-ewwel nistgħu nsemmu l-kbar, bħal San Ġwann tas-Salib, Santa Tereża ta’ Ġesù u Santa Eliżabetta tat-Trinità, li l-awtur tal-ktieb Meta r-Ruħ tintbill fid-Deheb jagħmel referenzi qawwija lejhom u jimxi proprju fuq il-passi tagħhom. Mill-kamp tal-filosfi nsibu wkoll vuċijiet profetiċi bħal dik ta’ Edmund Husserl, li fil-bidu tas-seklu għoxrin kien qed javżana dwar dak li hu jsejjaħlu “barbarian hatred of spirit” li qiegħed jiddomina l-ħajja tal-Punent u li, kif jargumenta hu, huwa riżultat tal-materjaliżmu u x-xjentiżmu li qegħdin jinvadu u jaħkmu kull sfera u mistoqsija dwar il-ħajja. Id-dixxiplu tiegħu, Michel Henry, ikompli jirradikalizza dan sal-punt li jniżżel l-isfera tal-viżibbli taħt dik li hi nviżibbli, sabiex tal-aħħar terġa verament tieħu r-ruħ u l-ħajja. Wara kollox, kif jghid San Pawl (2Kor 4:18), “dawk li jidhru huma għal zmien qasir, dawk li ma jidhrux huma ghal dejjem.” Infatti Henry, li kiteb u għex fit-tieni parti tas-seklu għoxrin, sa anke wasal biex fl-aħħar xogħlijiet tiegħu jagħmel studju profond fuq l-Evanġelju fejn, mil-lenti filosofika u dik fenomenoloġika, jittratta t-temi tal-verità, tal-kelma u l-inkarnazzjoni.

Il-ktieb ta’ P. Charlò nistgħu narawh bħala żwieġ intimu bejn l-imħabba mistika u l-għerf tar-ruħ. Huwa biċċa xogħol ta’ valur siewi u neċessarju għax mhux biss jippreżentalna studju storiku dwar il-meditazzjoni Nisranija, speċifikament dik Karmelitana, jew kif l-awtur isejħilha wkoll “it-talb tal-ġabra,” iżda, bla tlaqliq ta’ xejn, jipproblematizza wkoll il-meditazzjoni fil-forma kontemporanja sekulari li rabbiet l-għeruq tagħha fid-dinja kapitalista u konsumerista – li hija l-istess dinja li tħobb tifqa’ dak kollu li hu profond, impenjattiv u misterjuż. Għaldaqstant, kif jinnota l-awtur, din il-prattika qed tigi kummerċjaliżżata għal finijiet li mhumiex propji tagħha. L-awtur jispjegalna kif, oriġinarjament, il-meditazzjoni ma’ kenitx maħsuba li tkun xi tip ta’ skappatura ta’ malajr mill-ġenn ta’ ħajjitna. Lanqas kienet maħsuba li tnessina, teħlisna jew twarrabna mir-realtà sofferenti tagħna u ta’ madwarna sabiex l-ego tiegħi u ġismi nħosshom tajbin għal ftit bl-għan li nkun nista’ nkompli ngħix iffukat fuqi nnifsi. Xejn minn dan, anzi bil-kontra! Kif jgħidilna l-awtur, bl-iktar mod ċar, “il-prattika tal-meditazzjoni tibdilna fi bnedmin spiritwali, jiġifieri bnedmin li ma ngħixux biss fuq livell materjali, iżda nidħlu fil-fond, fil-qalba spiritwali ta’ kollox” (paġ. 111). Għaldaqstant, “il-meditazzjoni tgħallimna nindunaw li s-sigurtà ma tinsabx la f’moħħna u lanqas fid-dinja materjali. Il-meditazzjoni issaffilna l-ħarsa tagħna biex nogħlew ‘il fuq jew ninżlu fil-qalba” (paġ. 112).

Madankollu, dan il-ktieb mhuwiex xogħol reazzjonarju. Xejn affattu. Dan huwa xogħol fejn l-awtur jurina kif nistgħu niffukaw ħsibijietna, l-emozzjonijiet u l-aġir tagħna sabiex niltaqgħu mal-verità u ngħixuha b’mod sħiħ. Din il-verità hija Ġesù Kristu, li huwa n-nifs tal-ħajja li, kif jaċċenna għalih l-awtur b’mod espliċitu, huwa l-ispirazzjoni u l-aspirazzjoni – jiġifieri, in-nifs ’il ġewwa u ’l barra, u allura l-ħajja li tgħammar fina u żżommna ħajjin: “Li nirritmaw l-Isem li hu fuq kull isem, l-Isem ta’ Ġesù, man-nifs tagħna, bil-mod il-mod nibdew nindunaw li l-identità vera tagħna hija Ġesù Kristu” (paġ. 213).

Il-meditazzjoni Nisranija, allura, kif jgħinna nagħrfu l-awtur, tressaqna qrib din il-verità billi toħodna dirett lejn il-mument preżenti – “il-Waqt” – li hu “fl-issa ta’ ħajti li jiena ninsab, dak għandi u xejn ħliefu, kif ukoll Alla jinsab fih” (paġ. 193). L-aħħar kelma “fih” faċilment tista’ taħrabilna u nitilfu t-tifsira qawwija tagħha hawn. F’dan il-ktieb, kif ukoll f’diversi xogħolijiet mistiċi u filosfiċi li nkitbu matul iż-żmien, din għandha rwol sinifikanti ħafna. Il-kelma “fih” tindikalna li hemm xi ħaga ġewwa, bħal daħla, spazju ieħor u xi mkien ulterjuri. Hija kelma ripetuta f’dan ix-xogħol għaliex it-tema ċentrali tiegħu hija propju l-ġewwieni tagħna, dak li jinħeba minna imma, fl-istess nifs, dak li hu l-eqreb tagħna. Fi kliem l-awtur stess, “il-prattika medittativa tagħna sseħħ fil-kuntest tar-relazzjoni tagħna miegħu, Hu li mhuwiex ’il barra minna, iżda fina, magħġun magħna, anzi huwa l-Kewn tagħna” (paġ. 186). Infatti, l-awtur jipproponi kelma oħra flok meditazzjoni: “Qagħda” (minn toqgħod) li fil-fatt tkompli tibni fuq il-ħsieb li noqgħodu xi mkien – fih/ fina.

Fl-aħħar mill-aħħar, it-tip ta’ meditazzjoni li dan il-ktieb qed iressqilna hija “l-koltivazzjoni tal-ħbiberija ma’ Alla li twassal għall-għarfien tiegħi nnifsi fih u tiegħu fija” (paġ. 184). Fil-proċess ta’ dan hemm il-ħelsien interjuri tagħna fin-nofs fejn niġu meħlusa minn irbit u jasar li ma jħalluniex nimmaturaw u nikbru bħala persuni b’mod sħiħ. Dan il-vjaġġ mhuwiex wieħed solitarju lanqas, kif jaċċenna l-awtur, imma maħsub li jkun fi spirtu komunitarju u f’relazzjoni mal-ieħor li huwa lil hemm minni. Allura, “il-bniedem meditattiv imsejjaħ sabiex jimxi flimkien mal-bnedmin ta’ żmienu u jrawwem ħarsa, qalb u azzjoni mimlija kompassjoni u mħabba lejn id-dinja bl-isfidi, il-provokazzjonijiet u l-kuntradizzjonijiet tagħha” (paġ. 189).

  1. Charlò jenfasizza wkoll il-kelma “attenzjoni” u jużaha kontinwament f’rabta mal-prattika tal-meditazzjoni li qed iressqilna. Din il-kelma hawn imfissra bl-istess mod kif Simone Weil, filosfa u mistika tas-seklu għoxrin, kienet targumenta li l-prattika tal-attenzjoni ħielsa hija neċċessarja biex tiprepara spazju għall-possibiltà tal-grazzja. Din l-attenzjoni tar-ruħ, maqtugħa u mbattla mill-egoċentriżmu, tiġbed it-Tajjeb sabiex jingħaqad b’mod kważi irreżistibbli mar-ruħ. Infatti, għal Weil, attenzjoni ġenwina, li hi mudlama u mneżżgħa minn ħsibijiet imferrxin, hija talba fiha nnfisha. Bl-istess ħsieb, l-awtur ta’ Meta r-Ruħ tintbill fid-Deheb, jurina kif fil-qagħda ta’ dlam u distakk aħna nistgħu noħolqu spazju fejn niltaqgħu mal-verità u nħalluha tiblagħna, sabiex aħna ngħixu fiha u hi fina.

Kelmtejn qosra tal-aħħar dwar l-istil u l-preżentazzjoni tal-ktieb.

L-awtur għoġbu jżomm il-vuċi tiegħu f’dan il-ktieb daqs li kieku wieħed qiegħed preżenti għal lezzjoni jew konferenza. Dan l-għaliex il-kontenut innifsu huwa l-frott ta’ laqgħat u klassijiet tal-meditazzjoni li ġew mogħtija fil-kunvent li fih jgħix l-awtur. Infatti, l-kapitli huma referenza għal kull laqgħa li saret u allura tinħass ħolqa naturali ħafna bejniethom inti u taqrahom. Apparti l-kliem, fil-ktieb insibu wkoll l-arti meditattiva ta’ P. Charlò’, li hi magħmulha minn pinzellati qosra ta’ inka sewda u deheb. Il-fatt li jinħassu li kienu magħmula f’sekondi qosra, jikkumplimentaw ħafna l-ħsieb tal-preżent li hu jitkellem fuqu kontinwament fil-ktieb. Peress ukoll li ma’ jirrappreżentaw xejn, għaliex huma astratti, tħalli fil-qarrej kemm sens ta’ kalma u kif ukoll għatx għall-inviżibbli.

Rigward il-kontenut inġenerali, minkejja li tgħin jekk il-qarrej ikun midħla tat-teoloġija u tal-filosofija li titratta l-ispiritwalità, madankollu huwa xorta xogħol aċċessibbli għal min b’rieda tajba lest ikompli jfittex l-awturi li jirreferi għalihom l-awtur stess u jaqra aktar dwarhom.

Għaldaqstant, jiena nifhem li l-awtur ma jridx jagħmilhielna wisq faċli u jagħtina kollox lest fuq platt. Anzi, jeħtieġ li b’temenza niskomodaw ftit ruħna u nidħlu għal dan l-impenn bis-serjetà li jista’ jħalli tant frott tajjeb u sabiħ. Fl-aħħar nett, dan huwa ktieb għal minn hu verament imxennaq li jidħol fil-qalba ta’ ruħu u lest jistenna, fis-silenzju, li jiltaqgħa ma’ dak li Hu.

Robert Farrugia Flores

Robert huwa għalliem tal-Istorja u tal-Arti, lettur każwali fl-Università ta’ Malta u qiegħed jaħdem id-Dottorat fil-Filosofija, fejn qed jirriċerka dwar l-interjorità fil-qasam tal-Fenomenoloġija.