Fiorella de Maria

I can taste the dust,
Red dust of the Sirocco.
The lonely call of the Sahara, which
Touches the sun-battered farmer’s face
In the whisper of a breeze,
Across the barren Maltese earth.

It touches me now
In the bitter, heartfelt call
Of what was left behind long ago.
The bells of the Angelus ring
Far away in their honey-drenched steeples,
Unheard by a wanderer
In the gloom of a London street.

Let it all fade away.
The cold embrace of the sea
On giddy summer days.
The joy of the festa
And the laughter in a friendly kiss–
All forfeited for a false confession
They could not make me speak.

But, a lifetime away,
In this windswept freedom street,
I will pretend I never cared for you,
Never wept to see your shores
Vanishing into the sea. And perhaps
One day I will believe it, and
My heart will not race to hear
Your name or your language spoken.

But just in case that day should come,
I will bury a stray regret,
Safe in the lonely Sirocco dust.
So that in spite of myself,
I will remember you.

Fiorella de Maria lives in Guildford, England, with her husband Edmund and their two little children. She is the author of two novels, The Cassandra Curse and Father William’s Daughter, and has a website at