Malta’s Buses – In Memorium

I’ve been to the island of Malta many times, and absolutely love the place.  And one of the best things about it are the canary-yellow buses that flock around the main fountain in Valletta and take you all over the island.  They are ancient and unique and full of life and personality.  And, as of this summer, they are all being scrapped to make way for horrible, impersonal, boring modern buses run not by owner-drivers, but by the monolithic corporation Arriva!  So, in memory of these beautiful and magical beasts, here is a poem I wrote about them some years back, as I stood by the fountain in Valletta, watching the flock go by:

BUSES by Neil Gardner

Like a flock of sun-gold flamingoes,

They swarm around the fountain now dry.

Some shiny new, others in death throes,

The journey may be hard but they’ll try.

All at once the flock takes wing and leaves,

As one they make haste and depart.

Squawking and screeching the sound weaves,

I watch, transfixed, full of heart.

Each one’s destination is different,

Yet the flock knows where to return.

To far off location the individuals are sent,

On a wing and a prayer, but no concern.

They’re back now, all yellow and noisy,

Surrounding me they nest and roost.

At night they lie warm, snug and cosy,

Before another day’s flock is let loose.

 

Here’s the link to the BBC News story:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9520210.stm

Sun-Gold Flock

The Yellow Buses of Malta

The Yellow Buses of Malta

“Sun-Gold Flock”

Like a flock of sun-gold flamingoes
They swarm around the fountain now dry,
Some shiny new, others in death throes
The journey may be hard but they’ll try.

All at once the flock takes wing and leaves
As one they make haste and depart,
Squawking and screeching the sound weaves
I watch, transfixed, full of heart.

Each one’s destination is different
Yet the flock knows where to return,
To far off location the individuals are sent
On a wing and a prayer, but no concern.

They’re back now, all yellow and noisy
Surrounding me they nest and roost,
At night they lie warm, snug and cosy
Before another day’s flock is let loose.

N.B. On the island of Malta, there is a quite magnificent public bus service comprising several hundred yellow buses, which all start and end their journeys around a fountain at the capital city Valletta.  It was while sitting watching these buses back in 2003 that I got the inspiration for this poem.

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