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Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Albanian Authors

 

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Kasëm TREBESHINA, 1991 (Photo: Robert Elsie).

Kasëm TREBESHINA, 1991
(Photo: Robert Elsie).

Webdesign J. Groß

Kasëm TREBESHINA

 

The Iceberg

An iceberg broke off in the Arctic,
It longed for and sought the Equator,
It voyaged afar through the oceans,
Day and night in the azure surge swimming.

Kissed by the waves, it was melting,
But ardour and lust burned within it,
The iceberg thus shortened its journey,
And melted to die in confusion.

(in prison, 1954)

[Aisbergu, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti, 1994, p. 3. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

We Met in the Darkness

The two of us met in the darkness
In the darkness we parted once more,
No words of farewell to each other,
Embarking and leaving the shore.

We vanished then into the shadows
Separated, yes each went his way,
We bid a goodbye to the seacoast,
But no words to each other could say.

(1952)

[U njohëm në errësirë, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti, 1994, p. 5. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

The Storks

Two storks soar over an island,
From the heights do they gaze in flight slow,
Beating wings both in grace and in grandeur,
O'er the cypress trees growing below.

Two storks fly over an island,
They ply the blue skies without rest,
In glory they circle and eye it,
Then continue their path to the West.

(1962)

[Lejlekët, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti, 1994, p. 65-66. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

The Pelicans

In a pond are three pelicans paddling,
They're as white as the light in a dream,
Three pelicans gliding in splendour,
As they ponder the mist and its gleam.

In a pond are three pelicans searching
For a life they have not, ne'er will see,
For a place and a realm far beyond them,
For a space in a cosmos to be.

In a pond are three pelicans longing
For fish and themselves in the blue,
In a pond are three pelicans swimming,
As they conjure that cosmos untrue.

(1962)

[Pelikanët, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti, 1994, p. 67. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Evening

Night is falling,
Sinking, settling over towns,
Over fields,
Mountains
And seas.

Falling, sinking for the living,
For the trees
And stones...

Falling, settling for the couple parting,
For the one who will die,
For the one to be born,
For all those who will meet again,
For a couple languishing in sighs
And silence,
Falling on the weary waves,
Sinking in this prison,
Falling, yes, for you,
Sinking, for me, too,
Falling, settling...

(1963)

[Mbrëmje, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti, 1994, p. 80. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Melancholy

The two of us are at the window
At the moon we sit and ponder,
Long apart and separated
Do we search for one another.

Close we were, our lives entwining
Almost hand in hand to wander,
Somewhere we'll be reunited
When our paths cross in the moonlight.

(in prison, 1954)

[Melankoli, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti 1994, p. 14. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Silence

A sigh profound can but express
A small part of our sorrow,
A gentle word can but reveal
A small part of our pleasure.

Every word we've used in life
Has left a void behind it,
In silence only are we clear,
All things are said in silence.

(in prison, 1954)

[Heshtja, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti 1994, p. 15. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

The Hounds

Stars encircle the axis of night,
Dreams are born in nighttime sleep,
Thoughts arise in the silence of night,
Weighty steps are striding!
Commotion in the distance
The hounds are barking!
In this nighttime urban jungle
The hounds are barking!

And a weighty step creaks on the stairs,
And a weighty step resounds in the streets,
A shot rings out between the houses,
The hounds are barking in the direful night
And a scream rings out
In the darkness.

Slowly the stars return to the axis of night
Dreams strive to hide in sleep,
In the distance hounds bark, steps resound,
Between the houses flows a stream of silent fear.

(1972)

[Qentë, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti 1994, p. 86. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Refrain

In sorrow
I am a tear spent in vain
That dries amongst your lashes.

In joy
I am a forgotten song
Voiced long ago.

In regret
I am a landscaped park
Without a tree.

In oblivion
I am the wind whipping the clouds
Through the blue sky.

In death
I am a house in ruins
Somewhere.

(1971)

[Refren, from the volume Lirika dhe satira, Tirana: Marin Barleti 1994, p. 85. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]