P. Serracino – Inglott (Limestone 84, 1978)

Achille Mizzi is the most universalist in choice of explicit theme and quasi -Claudelian in the orchestration of his aspirations. He is also the most faithfully Maltese and least Englished in his verbal structures. More frequently than any of the rest, he has retained the semitic freedom of word order and the psalmodic anaphorism natural to Maltese. The effect is of a spiralling, uncoiling serpentine force challenged by the contemporary deadlock of the lyric poet: the replacement of the biography by the autothanatography. The human ego is often pictured in diptychs (Enigma Variations, Masculum et Foeminam Creavit Eos), fractures across the middle, striving to achieve coalescence, like animus (will-powered ‘like the vice of the curled snake’) and anima (expectantly ‘coiled like a cobra’); it is joyously diffused in a chromatic orgy when the consciousness that all the colours are nothing but a prismatic splitting of the divine white is strong; it cowers in terror when one predominates as when ‘redness invades’ (a ‘rust’ that ‘corrodes’) or displaces another (‘my blood will flow green’).

A biblical teleology is too ingrained in him to allow moments of malaise to settle in a fixed attitude. The frequent image of ‘unveiling’ does not imply that the environment is for him a reality which is merely waiting to be put into words; he knows it will take shape partly as a result of finding the appropriate creative words. It has partly to be invented; it is the evolving term of a tropism, a receding asymptote, which generates both a sense of anxiety and a constructive (linguistic) urge.