on a mid-May morn


                   " Be not forgetful to entertain strangers "

Bougainvillea smothering your window. Mosaic of sun and shade on the patio.

Oleanders in the wind, cactus slumped over a wall. Sunflowers, flat-faced, serene and smiling.

Sonorous sounds of cicadas at dusk and merlins at dawn.  Beating of wings and louder opinions.  Sobbing cadence of a Maltese voice pleading with fractious Too- nio.

"Some island with the sea's silence on it..."

The High Street on Monday . Morning cacophony. Comforting warmth of the Kangaroo Bar. Lina and Helen God's own people. And other Linas and Helens will always be carbon copies. Ugo in the Mocambo. Sizzling lampuki perfuming the air. Patient, immobile face of Joe in the Siren's Bar. "Be not forgetful to entertain stangers". No, Joe will not forget. Charlie and Phyllis bustling with business;" We are here for your comfort and pleasure."

Antonio in his hardware shop. Buckets and shovels jostling for position. 60-watt bulbs easily located under cornucopia of mats, hats, baskets, and barrels. Lines of enamelled chamber pots clambering for the sky. Antonio full of love for his fellow man; the essence of wisdom. lucky Antonio. Loud, booming cry of Angelo shouting his wares.  Mose' resplendent with a crimson rose. "The apparel oft proclaims the man".The butchers shop. Joe, cool, calm and efficient. Carmelo at his fruit van. Handsome, happy, jolly, kind pure heart. How the dickens are you this grand fine mornin'?  imitating your Irish brogue with uncanny exactitude. Charm for everyone.The good, the bad, the beautiful, the plain. Nobody escapes. A social healer, God bless him !  Binko, nimble and birdlike flashes you a sudden moon-like smile. Volatile and friendly. Mario at his mother's door, "among his earthiest words, the angels stray".

Felix, the other Francis, on the friary steps, flutter of holy hands in a blessed benediction. Ludovico wrestling with a rueful smile. " As long liveth the merry man as doth the sorry man and longer by a day." The boys at Johnnie's bar. Indolent and watchful. Peregrine of Petworth monocled and silver- caned,"With eyes severe and beard of formal cut". Victoria still under mimosa tree. Fingers more arthritic. Could not do her crochet today. Was only speaking of you yesterday. Loves your hat and your "honest" kaftan. Calls you Madam. First time for everything ."They also serve who only stand and wait."

 Heat seeping through your frozen bones from the honey-coloured stone of the fortified tower. Collusion of shadows. Forty shades of blues and greens on the somnolent water. Could you ever entomb this evanescent beauty and put it in your pocket? A red sail floats kite-like between Saint Paul's islands. And St Paul, he said: " wisdom in this world is foolishness with God," and aren't you inclined to agree with him?

A tiny exquisite lizard fixes you with a cold stare and then speeds down through fluted whispers to the green cool of his bamboo world. A mound of ants makes you feel uncomfortably indolent by its feverish diligence. You drag yourself home for a meal of delicious Maltese bread, goat's cheese and Lachryma Vitis.

And so to Valletta. City of romance, charm and historical  resonance - veritable open museum. Enchanting immutability. Caught in its age-old embrace. Blanketed in contentment. Patina of weathered steps in a street called Strait where foolish mortals left their doors ajar." Ye cursed streets of stairs.  How surely he who mounts you swears."  Mdina , mediaeval marvel. Redolent of history.  Mystery of cathedral. Effusion of colour. Comfort of thick walls. Drapes of bougainvillea cascading in troves of purple glory.  Bleating of goats in the distance. Snoring of supine dogs. Shock of sudden bells in the silence.

Magic of Hagar Qim. The Tarxien Temples, silent, waiting. Evening in Mellieha. Holocaust sunset. Gargantuan meal at Da Rosi. Happy as a lark with a heart full of hope. A dishful of swordfish and a hat full of bluebells and daisies.

You are so glad you came. Sure, you'll never be the same.

Because of Malta on a mid-May morn !

Anita kilbride-Jones,

St Paul's Bay, Malta. 

lnstalling the church bell - mid-eighties.


I see His blood upon the rose,

And in the stars the glory of His eyes,

His body gleams amid eternal snows,

His tears fall from the skies.

I see His face in every flower,

The thunder and the singing of the birds

Are but His voice,

And carven by His power

ROCKS are His written words. 

All pathways by His feet are worn,


His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,

His cross is every tree.



(I887 - I9I6)


Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round it and pick blackberries.

Elizabeth Barret Browning.


Saint Paul's favouritre word was Rejoice.' Rejoice and  again rejoice' he would say, just like 'the wise thrush / who sings his song twice over / lest you should think / he never could recapture / the first fine careless rapture' /. When we rejoice always as he asks us to do. the devil cannot get near us.  We are accepting God's plan for our lives and so we experience ' the peace which passeth all understanding'.  The Trinity comes to live in us and we become powerful workers for the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Lord directs our thoughts and our feet.  We are then His ''friends".No humility no holiness, no heaven.   If you want to beat the devil be humble - be holy, give thanks in all circumstances.

"If you humble yourself, the victory is already won."Solanus Casey.


"The man whispered - "God, speak to me!" and a meadowlark sang.

But the man did not hear.

So the man yelled - and the thunder and lightening rolled across the sky.

But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said - "God, let me see you!".

And a star twinkled brightly in the sky.

But the man did not see.

Now the man shouted - "God, show me a miracle!".

And a child was born.

But the man did not notice.

So, the man cried out in despair 

"Touch me God, and let me know you are near!"

But the man brushed the butterfly off his hand ". 

"Brothers have no fear of men's sin.   Love a man even in his sin, for that is the semblance of divine love and is the highest love on earth.  Love all God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it.  Love every leaf and every ray of God's light.  Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.  If you love everything you will perceive the divine mystery in things.   Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day.  And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love". 




Today pollution has become a big issue.  People want clean water, clean air, and clean food.  But we should be even more concerned about the most dangerous pollution of all, namely, evil.

Pride, anger, hate, lust, greed, envy...

all these are dangerous pollutants. 

So what must we do?

We must purify the source; the heart is the source.

It is the well-spring from which all our  thoughts, words and deeds flow.

If the heart is clean, all that flows from it is clean.

Blessed are the clean of heart, THEY SHALL SEE GOD.

The Gift of Sight.

Helen Keller, who went blind and deaf at nineteen months said:

'One day I asked a friend of mine who had just returned from a long walk in the woods what she had seen.  She replied "Nothing in particular." 'How was this possible ? I asked myself,'when I , who cannot hear or see, find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch.  I feel the delicate shape and design of a leaf.  I pass my hands lovingly over the rough bark of a pine tree.  Occasionally, I place  my hand quietly on a small tree, and if I'm lucky, feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song.

The greatest calamity that can befall people, is not that they should be born blind, but that they should have eyes, yet fail to see'.




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