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Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Albanian Authors

 

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Sali BASHOTA, 2006

Sali BASHOTA, 2006

Webdesign J. Groß

Sali BASHOTA

 

The Stone of Love

How little I have forgotten you,
How often I have sculpted you,
My stone.

What shall I tell my mother
If my eyes no longer glow,
My stone.

On Kosova's alpine meadows
At the height of summer, snow,
A white felt cap.

How often I have carved you,
Without ever forgetting you,
My gravestone.

(1986)

[Guri i dashurisë, from the volume Ndiz dritën magjike, Prishtina: Rozafa 2002, p. 20. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Another Form of Pain

Oh muse,
I refuse to die here
On this morn of sorrow,
Cover my face with Kosova's pain,
With the blood of children
Killed by the pall.
Let blades of grass fold over her wounds.
When the flower of malediction blooms,
Do not pluck my soul,
Oh muse.

(1999)

[Forma tjetër e dhembjes, from the volume Ndiz dritën magjike, Prishtina: Rozafa 2002, p. 125. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

A Poem Giving up the Ghost

Albulena said:
             Do not tear it up,
             it is poetry of primeval longing,
             the nightmare will engulf mother, too.

Besiana said:
             Do not burn it,
             the pain of the heart knows no end,
             later, someone will lament it with tears.

Doruntina said:
             Do not hurt it,
             it is a sin to smother a line of verse
             newborn with a scream.

Etleva said:
             Do not make it bleed,
             all the bells of mourning will toll,
             there will be no more word of salvation.

Rozafa said:
             Do not bury it,
             this poem that longed for a bit of homeland
             for its own soul.

[Vjersha që po jepte shpirt, from the volume Ndiz dritën magjike, Prishtina: Rozafa 2002, p. 143. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Fair Will and Testament

When reviving memories,
Awaken the solitude,
You are my breath.

When wounding your life,
Stifle the silence,
You are my grave.

When crushing your dreams,
Heal the fear,
You are my resurrection.

[Testament i bukur, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 7. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Prayer

The day will come
When a curse
Will be sown like verdant grass
In this holy land.

My love,
In the mystery of pain
Love dies in bliss.

[Uratë, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 16. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Elegy

Everything is black.

The room turned into a ghost,
The bird lying dead in its nest,
The ashes of burnt manuscripts,
The hair of a girl at the window,
The fatal hour of chastisement,
The weeping of a mother in a cursed home,
Testament under two metres of soil.

Only death is white.

[Elegji, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 17. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Barren Land

Too early
May you light the fire,
Let half of the sins burn,
Consuming themselves
On that barren land.

Too late
May we all die,
Blithe in another paradise
Only the dream became beautiful
On that barren land.

[Tokë s shkretë, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 20. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Rea or Another Dream

If it were not for Her
Love would have another name.

This is why
I love your azure eyes.

If it were not for Her
The birds would not soar in the heavens.

This is why
I love your azure eyes.

If it were not for Her
Pain would become a lament.

This is why
I love your azure eyes.

[Rea apo një ëndërr tjetër, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 21. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Fleeing from my Homeland

And this burnt house
Is eating up my soul.

And this weird woman
Is eating up my soul.

And this barren land
Is eating up my soul.

And this accursed poem
Is eating up my soul.

And this wretched beauty
Is eating up my soul.

[Ikja nga vendlindja, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 37. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Forgetting Myself

I forgot myself
On the road to hell
As a sombre moon
Wept over Prishtina.

(31 March 1999)

[Duke harruar vetveten, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 62. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Another Form of Death

One does not die in Prishtina
At seven in the evening,
All living creatures go mad
From the lament of the birds.

Again bonfires are set,
Again the pain cries out,
Only drunkards can sing
Listening to the sorrow.

One does not die in Prishtina
When the dogs are barking,
Beasts find no sleep
When every soul is hanging
From its own nail.

(30 March 1999)

[Forma tjetër e vdekjes, from the volume Bukuri e nëmur, Prishtina: Kosova Pen Center 2005, p. 68. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]