The Tower of Il-Gardjola


The Tower of Il-Gardjola

We hear it all,
the endless message,
carved high into the battlements,
conform and heed our call.

We see it all,
the lidless eye is never sleeping,
stays dry mid widows weeping,
for the husbands who lay bleeding.

We speak the truth,
if one can hear it,
stand on faith or simply fear it,
wearily silent, remain to bear it.

We are the day,
the endless power,
the bright sunlit gleaming tower,
careless now the hour,
brings no sunset.

We are the night,
deep everlasting,
pinned in stone,
the all enduring,
the world upon its mooring,
rotates on and on.

We are the Alpha and Omega,
the cross and holy sceptre,
the welcoming open harbour,
fruit laden timeless garden,
above trembling prison wall.

By Ruairí de Barra.

The Gardjola Gardens are located in Senglea, perched on the bastion with fantastic panoramic views over Marsa, Valletta, Grand Harbour and Fort St. Angelo.
The gardens were planned by Grandmaster De La Sengle in 1551 with a lovely guard tower built on the tip of the bastions. The guard tower, ‘Il-Gardjola’, has various symbols sculpted on in such as an eye, an ear and the crane bird, representing guardianship and observance protecting the Maltese shores.
The eye on the tower is a popular icon representing Malta, featured in many brochures about the Island.
The gardens have palm trees and provide a spot to relax under the shade while enjoying the view and I visited them many times during shore leave in Malta from Operation Pontus in the summer of 2015 and Operation Sophia in 2018.

I would also take the view that it gave a signal to even the illiterate peasantry, the rulers see and hear everything.

Published in ‘Live Encounters’ September 2018. You can read the four poems on the Live Encounters website or download a free .pdf copy just by clicking here.

Live Encounters is a wonderful publication and all of its issues, as well as special editions, may be found on its website at

I would like to thank Mark Ulyseas for seeing fit to include my work in the company of some incredibly talented people.



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