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Gëzim HAJDARI

Gëzim HAJDARI

Webdesign J. Groß

Gëzim HAJDARI

 

I sing of my body present
Born of this chilly space
Which offers nothing

At night
Visions of blanched temples
Beckon me to the void

I have dreamt of solitary fields
To search for perplexing signs
And to understand the skies' mask
Which yearns for the abyss

I don't know why I stare so long
At the slender horizon
Or at the barren peaks with their black birds

Where is that thing hidden which I cannot find?
On the quivering surface of algae
Or on stark white lichens?

I proceed through the consummate verdure
Bearing nothing but my body.

I'll not leave one bit behind!

[Këndoj trupin tim prezent, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 12. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

I am a sea bell
Of silences and murmurs
Caught in Time

And no God hears the sounds
Of water and fire
In my flesh

In the West
Every passing spring
Is a reinfected wound

And I
Torn and lacerated by shades and stones
Have crossed the Italian nights
In a seething of blood

For years in anguish and fear of death

Deceived by the voices of oracles
I call out to familiar faces
Which do not return (and they won't ever!)

Sterile are my dreams
In the darkness of a vacant room and

Every day I go a little more insane.

[Jam këmbanë deti, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 17. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

The language of this land
Is of no more use to anyone
It is leading the trees and birds
To destruction

On this side of the world
We live with words of stone
And praise

We scratch our bodies
When we hide
With the cold clouds
Of the valley

We will never be free
Like the hills!

[Gjuha e këtij vendi, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 20. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Those who continue to flee
Through the snows
Leaving behind them
Tiny skies, fragile walls
Which shake
Are in the hands of unknown dwelling places
If not of pale nocturnal moons
Why do they hasten to burn their memories
And reject their longing
And the ashes of the dead, the altars
How will they end?
Turn to the recall, bless
The trampled flowers, the well water
You have drunk
It will protect you during the exile
You undertake: between enchanting groves
And ruthless seasons

[Ata që vazhdojnë të ikin, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 22. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

We are here amidst the rocks
With the rocks
Surrounded by the cold stare of the meadow
And the large eyes of birds
Waiting for a Voice
Which will emerge from the sandy fields
Enveloped in sombre clouds

We carry in our pockets a list
Of the dead
And days of a naked territory
Without moans or memories

With our mouths shut, hiding
The words
We push aside the walls of wind
To see on the other side
The black-lipped river

Of which we once spoke.

[Jemi këtu midis gurëve, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 24. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

We hug our names
Cut to bits like the grass

And do not know whence
This solitude comes

Perhaps we should have clung
Closer to the trees
Or to the toppled marble

For years we have been treading
On fallow fields
Without a childhood

Light snow falls
From our bodies.

[Shtërngojmë emrat tanë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 26. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

We are unable to speak
Under these rigid skies

Our language is clothed anew
In another language which spawns
Ravens
Ravens which soar over the scattered ice
And walls

And the fires we've come from
Do not consign us to the new fires
We still need.

[Nuk mundemi të flasim, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 28. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

When will this punishment end?

Every day the same story
In front of fantastic figures
Blistered and bloodied

Never-before seen.

[Kur do të mbaroj ky dënim? from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 34. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Though autumn is the season
Of my suicide at the border
Waiting behind ancient trees
To witness your approach

I search in vain for somewhere to rest
At the horizon I find
No sign of memory or trace in the dust
And your security enchants me no more

Whom have I belonged to all this time
The fog muffles my cries

I stray farther and farther away from those
I summon
Like the springtime of my flesh.

[Ndërsa vjeshta është stina, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 48. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Sterile sand will remain
In the valley
Ploughed by a serpent

Trees huddled together in fear
As in years of famine

Shout to the sky words
Which defile the language
Of the dead

Men and beasts
Advance along the tightrope of disaster
(united in silence
And in space)

Until they arrive
In a barren land
Without a childhood.

[Në luginë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 62. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

I will remain
(shadow of a dog or bitter-grass)
Casting rocks at the wind
On strange nights

Surrounded by invading ivy
And shuddering dampness
In my empty room

Unmoved
Like the blackness of the mountains
Beaten by rain

And my body will remain
Alone
With your name of flesh
And of darkness
In cold hands
With absurd words on its lips.

[Do të mbes unë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 64. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

How sad Rome is
Without you my love
Without your eyes
Your lips
(As red as blood)
Without your shadow

At my side
You are a hill
A field of wheat
Or a virgin forest
Where the rain
And the world
Knock

If you call
The angels will answer
If you shout
The sea will lend an ear
If you weep
The ruins will bid welcome

I have both lost you and found you again
Amidst the walls and caverns
Alive and slain
By the same stones
By the same shadows!

[Sa e trishtë është Roma, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 66. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

You exist in the face of winter
Like a wound. Unmoved and foreign
In an imperfect space, ever hostile
Waiting for the uniform silence
Of the sand
To divulge to you its secret. Do not be confused
By the meandering rivers and the young trees
Which were not there before. All around
The collapse of things will continue
The disappearance of poets who link
The sky and the earth
It is said that we will pass away in opposite lands.
My years: flight into the unknown and
Direful re-awakenings in the night.

[Ti ekziston përballë dimrit, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 70. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Albania
What sorrow our destiny
We lose one another every day
What deception to be your resident
You my mud
We die eternally in one another.

[Shqipëri, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 80. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Will someone come and ask about us
Immured in the crannies of tiny days
Unwanted tenants of the tranquillity
Of the fields?

We have been patient for years
Obsessed by the pallor of the dead
Who keen at the flowering hedges

You move your hand, hardly awakened
In the twilight. You break the silence
And braid and twist our mute language
In your own fashion.

[Do të vij dikush të pyes për ne, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 82. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

I am the truth
Of a journey and of a a shadow's edge
Guarded on the living and closed earth
Which wants to conceal something from me

I live in suspense
Without belonging to any place
At the crossroads of an equilibrium

I have trodden lightly
Among the thirsting dead
To attain tomorrow's dawn
Of flames and truces

The infinite which shelters me
I am weary of Time and the void

What is my fragment
Or your own?

My anguish waxes horizontal
Like my illusion
The wall which protects and divides me
Becomes weakened, too.

[Jam e vërteta, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 86. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

I speak with dreams devoured at sunset
By the winds

They are waiting in line for me at the beginning
They find me drunk on public squares
In the name of Ithaca

They want to force a country on me
My thoughts turn to the dawn
Which will transport me to the next day.

[Më kërkojnë në qytetet detarë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 90. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

I evoke your name in each of the seasons.
In winter when you are absent, I imagine
The beauty of your fields. Dark water
Near me, flow a little closer
And save me from the calvary repeating itself
In my blood and in my flesh
I do not know what will become of me. I am often
Afraid, at night I slumber with burning forests
And through my fingers seep rivers of ashes
Oh guardian angel
Something within me has taken flight to the borders
With the winds of autumn and the black birds.

[Të thërras në të gjitha stinët, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 92. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Tirana
You are my love
And my tyrant

I escaped from your clutches
One night, in the rain,
Weeping like a child
Before a firing-squad

You gave birth to me, raised me
Only to devour me later
Among the stones

I have existed in the solitude
Of your blood and of your Shadow
Days, years, centuries of folly

What could I not have done for you?

I have often tried to slash my veins
To hide the final Word, the birds
Myself
To shelter you

But you, mother and monster,
Cursed and battered my body, my language
And my eyes to the point of blindness.

[Tiranë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 98. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

You tell me that you knelt
Yesterday upon the earth,
Oh, our soil
Dusty and delirious,
With your aged face
Turned to the wilderness
And you prayed for me:
Trembling body

Thousands of kilometres, through states, temples
Ice, lightning, winds,
Solitudes of sand
Your prayers must journey:
Pure essence in material
To touch the Black Stone.

[Më thua se dje, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 102. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

My torment began when
I found myself alone
Before the stones

The day I got to know their
Material
I said to the Word:

You and these stones will destroy me

Padre
Save me from my merciless fate

I see only faces
Which resemble stones
And stones which mirror faces!

[Sfilitja ime nisi kur, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 108. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

We are separated by the pale swath
Of fields
And soil with free-flying swallows

We wanted to dwell on the mountain peaks
But the echo of the valley
Gave no answer to our screams

We seek words in another season
There, where our glances fell

The faces we once loved
Are in search of a new exile
And of another alphabet

Who will recognize the bloodstains on the stones
And in the cracked river beds?

That age was different
Like the song of the crickets
In abandoned houses

Other bodies have been in this verdure
Before us

And fresh faces
Now accompany our steps

From the evening windows
We observe the phalanx of trees.

[Na ndanë shtrirja e lehtë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 112. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

How can I free myself of the cloud-laden sky
And the darkness of the stones
And return to your blood?

To rediscover hidden words
Under the mantle of snow
And the trampled flowers

What appears on the horizon
Is what we lost among the trees
And columns of rain

Can you not forget it?

We will find nothing beyond the bodies
And shrieks

The shadows push shadows
Against shadows gnawed away
By our glances.

[Si të lirohem nga qielli i mbyllur, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 116. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

You are getting drenched in other rains
Pondering on things lost
Like the downpour

New skies will return
With birds and clouds

And will cleanse the traces
Of your days

How can I shelter you in my body
Of mud and shadow?

Words unspoken
Are still cowering
Under the cover of snow.

[Lagesh nën të tjerë shira, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 118. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

I stoop over the void
And hide my secrets

In the hills
The gale is winding
The white sheets
Of the dead

Anonymous faces are silent
For they do not know how to weep

To whom shall I turn
In this sterile land?

Like a monk grown bitter
I bury in the sodden soil
The fallen flowers of an almond tree.

[Përkulem në zbrazetirë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 122. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

We take shelter in fragile bodies
Wrapped in the mist of the valley
Which still (like the grass) maintain
Their balance

The barren fields have nothing
To say to us
And the icy reaches teach us
Only how to grow cold

From now on we must learn
To live
Like the sky, like the sky.

[Strehohemi te trupat e lehtë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 138. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Wherever I go in the West

I carry my lacerated face with me

In my eyes sadness
As if imprisoned:
My Albania, voices lost
And you are getting drenched in other
Rains

Perhaps one soggy day
I will die, too, in the road

Slashed by the stones
I have hurled at the wind

[Kudo që shkoj në Perëndim, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 146. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Perhaps that day
Without me in infinity
My solitude
And my Shadow
And my stones
Will go mad

Will fall together or one after another
Into a foreshadowed void,
Soaked with time and delirium

Nothing will remain of our exile:
Erring and exposed to the rain
Led to the edge of the abyss
Of oblivion.

[Ndoshta atë ditë, from the volume Corpo Presente (Tirana 1999), p. 150. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]