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Robert Elsie

Albanian Literature | Modern

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Flutura AÇKA

Flutura AÇKA

Webdesign J. Groß

Flutura AÇKA

 

Landscape

The mountains are clad in white-flannel breeches,
Black-braided seams, torrents tumble and vanish in the vales,
Haze here and there still hovers o'er hillsides,
Tufts of billowing wool.

The wind for a moment forgot its roar and rumble,
Snowy silence, boundless and virgin, clad
In the white splendour of long months of bridehood,
Mountain passes still retain their winter borage.

From afar they are bride and pensive bridegroom,
Gathered at noble wedding.
Towards them I pace, forgetting
Rice to throw over their ridges.

[Peizazh, from the volume Mure vetmie, Elbasan: Onufri, 1995, p. 17, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Prayer for winter

These skies are
Monks freezing in solitude

Back and forth
They seem to wander
Homeless

Give these skies
A place
Around the evening fire
So that they can warm themselves

Give them a place

[Lutje dimri, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 5, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

On our "ancestral lands"

From that moment on,
I left behind me the void of my steps,
The traces of my unlived life.
Where did all the words go?
Where did we vanish
Who are no longer?

Thereafter,
White wastelands of repentance,
Topographies of torment,
Neither you
Nor I
Know
Whence the storm has come.

From that moment on,
They became my scarf of oblivion
To wrap and warm the late nights, and yet,
How cold it is on our "ancestral lands!"

[Në "trojet" tona, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 26, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Prayer for Anna Akhmatova

How it now spins, how it hovers between us,
That invention called love, as the poet once said,
When you put it out, you put me on fire,
Silently glowing in ashes of dread.

Why does it wait for the cold winds of winter,
Why does it hold back the torrents in May,
Like a devilish child that has now been awakened,
A new dream is born and will soon go its way.

Let sleep take care of your fears and your anguish,
Let nighttime abscond now with your every tear,
And when you awake somewhere up in the heavens
An eclipse of the heart will have taken place here.

[Lutje Ana Ahmatovës, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 31, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

A divine breeze

And a divine breeze always billows
When the day goes mad
And tugs nighttime by the hair,
Disrobing it
In the vaults of heaven.

Yes, a divine breeze
Always burgeons
To cover the shame of the stars shining
Over the bare dunes of the desert.

Lord, oh Lord,
Who can calm
The lust of unspoken words,
The outburst of unwept tears,
The liquids of longing which do not sleep?

[Erë hyjnore, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 38, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Frightful succession of seasons

On the sidewalks of sadness
The rain began to fall,
As if to remind me that
Autumn was nigh.

A voice
From the abode of the day drew near:
After me comes winter,
And winter will freeze you numb.

[Radhë e frikshme stinësh, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 40, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

For Sappho

I have been in parlance with you my whole life long,
Goddess of Poetry.

[Safos, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 44, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Monotony

In that same street,
With those same steps,
Under those same trees
We meet,
With the very same expressions
On that most monotonous and
Most genuine of mornings.

Grey hair,
The only change
In the heavy air of time.

[Monotoni, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 45, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Ballad on a campaign to inhibit feelings

That eyes not fail us
We invented glasses.

That hands not quiver
We invented pockets.

What help can we find
For our hearts?

[Baladë fushatës së frenimit të ndjenjave, from the volume Festë me ankthin, Elbasan: Onufri, 1997, p. 47, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Return

for R.

Night knocks.
Echo of a soul
Which incites me onwards
Towards everything sought,
Towards nothing expected.
Dead are the madmen
And mad are the living
Who butt out their cigarettes
On the back of my pain.
It is an age of clamour,
Of solitudes' crusade.

(Figline, 31.07.1998)

[Kthimi, from the volume Kurth' i diellit, Tirana: Skanderbeg Books, 2003, p. 48, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Oblivion

I have forgotten how to sing of love
Since that moment when
It betrayed me
With its silence.

[Harrim, from the volume Kurth' i diellit, Tirana: Skanderbeg Books, 2003, p. 61, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Evil doings

I left behind a part of my soul
When I was born
As a hostage
For this world's evil doings.

And when I die, the evildoers
Will certainly say:
It was your doing!

[Prapësitë, from the volume Kurth' i diellit, Tirana: Skanderbeg Books, 2003, p. 71, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]