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Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Albanian Authors

 

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Ledia DUSHI

Ledia DUSHI

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Ledia DUSHI

 

The Child

The child
Stood alone
In the meadow
Hidden
Behind the homes,
Half-asleep,
With brown eyes
Like the bark
Of a dead tree...

His face
Leaning
Between his shoulders.

[Fmij, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Heart in an Aquarium

I have no forest
To set free
The creature of calm...

My heart
Wedged
In an aquarium
Among the withered leaves
And water...

The wind throbs...

I feel
The flight of things
On the run.

[Zemra n'akuarium, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Rain in the Dark

Life
Wearies within me
Sensing every night
The pulse 'neath my temples,
The husks of grain
Beating
Against the whites of my eyes.

I have lost
My tongue
Pond'ring on you...

Between my lips
Yesterday's stale air,
The male face
Of spring...

Tears sketched
On the wall
Have hanged
Themselves...

The assault of dusk
Has roasted my soul,
The only slaughtered meat
Unfit to eat.

[Shi n'terr, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Time for Sleep

The heavens
Have draped
All things...

I've misplaced
All colours,
While staring
At the lake...

All people
Never really
Existed...

When I talk to myself,
Only I am.
Time for sleep...

I have lost the lake!

[Koha e gjumit, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

One

Darkness hovers
Above me..

Shooting off
Circles and points...

There is a void
Within the house
And without...

Light
Withers
Of its own...

[Nji, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

My Age

Age of annual
Solitude...

This house
Is made
Of roots
And rays...

Never
Do I summon
Solitude
By its name...

I smell
The fleeting fragrance
Of absence.

[Mosha ime, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

The Weather is Hot

The priests
Are the only link
Between drowing and heaven...

The saints
Strain their legs,
The nuns
Pierce
Their teardrops...

We've been left
Alone,
Now that
The spirit is no more...

And they say
It is
Summer.

[Ban t'nxehtë, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Prison

Lambs and sheep
Can't be seen at night...

The man
Weeps alone,
Counting
In his soul
Drowned fields
At eventide...

I am used to
Absence...
Things that hover,
Become covert...

Prison
Is not only
Being locked up.

[Burg, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Every... Night

Every night
I count the fields,
Delight in the rusty
Crop
That will never
Be reaped...

My body
Does not know
What it desires...

I stand there
Biting my nails,
My chapped hands crack
When touched.

[Për...natë, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Still Life

Blood fills
The well in the courtyard...

The rain and I
Are Alone,
Locked
Within ourselves...
And we set forth...

Flowers
Have no feast days,
Rainbow
Hidden
In a box...

Still life:
Children
Belly-split
Are the faces of the moon
On earth.

[Natyrë e vdekun, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Nun

The eagles first appeared
On a night
Of deceptive lights...

In fear...

The voice of my dream
Floods
My ear,
Blood
Flows
Over my fingers...

To forget...

My head
An asylum
Of lonely beings...

I want to live
A winter
That lasts forever,
With a rooster crowing
In my head,
The death of the fowl
In my soul.

[Murgeshë, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Blue

I sense
The vaporous being
Of Christ
Inside me,
The cheeks of saints
On my face...
With a dream on my lips
I dissolve into ecstasy...

The days
Are not written
By name...

The shadow of the Cross
Melts
Into a thousand little
Feathery banners
In my lap,
In my breast...

Everything
Holds
Its breath,
You are
A heap
Of Christmases...

The echoes
Stem from my head,
The noises resound
From the Vaults
Angels
In the Soul...

The things I love
Are so far
From Earth.

[Blu, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Autumn Flower

I want to die
Under this
Autumn flower,
Shackled
In a glass of water...

In winter
I have
Comets in my eyes,
Fir trees in my hair...

We have been wounded
By the ash of the moon,
Barefoot love
'mongst beings.

Whoever died last night
Did not see
The arrow coming.

[Lule vjeshte, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Change

The Time
Has come
That we be seen
Wrapped
In the shadow of Freedom...

I am human,
I long for the things
I do not possess...

Nothing
Is
Closer,
Or farther,
Than Earth...

I passed
Fruit
To the worms,
Lilies
To the larvae...

Perhaps
My heart
Is deformed
(and I don't know it).

[Ndryshue, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Green Water

When I am grown
I will be
Small...

Green water,
The sweetest grass
In the world,
A field
of wandering
Fish...

In the skies
Nothing belongs
To me
Nor on earth;
In my head I hear
The bleating of lambs
On stone,
See colours
Stuck
To the seeds of my eyes.

[Ujë i gjelbër, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

My Freedom

A creature whitened
On the wall,
In love
With the contours
Of your shadow.

Beneath the moon...

I hear the voice
Appearing
Before my sight.
Nest of lights...

I am missing
The chords
Of unheard
Music.

Choking
On my dreams,
Handcuffed.

My freedom
Dwells in the mountains,
The eldest
Of the poisonous plants.

[Liria ime, from the volume Seancë dimnash (Shkodra: Camaj-Pipa, 1999). Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]