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Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Albanian Authors

 

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Zef ZORBA

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Zef ZORBA

 

Sombre this Path

Sombre this path. I cannot
Find my way without your
Light (what is this twinge?)

At the edge of the chasm
What lure and temptation,
Can't you see how I teeter?

[I errët ky shteg, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 6. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

A Moment, Poetry: Life

Light in the mist.

I discern your face, powdery snow,
Bashful and a slight smile
Like protoplasm "in vitro,"

But it is swallowed by this swirl of dryads,
Leaving naught but an inkling.

[Një çast, poezi: një jetë, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 8. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Yearning

On such nights
At Qafë-Hardhi
The shrubs
Are freckled
With the fancies
Of fireflies.

[Malle, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 11. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Feast Tonight

Feast tonight: rain and storm,
Thunder and winds from Lezha,
(no moon).

On the cement before me
The raindrops beat in fury,
The hail shatters like salt,
Oh cement, I'm like you.

[Sonte festë, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 20. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Like Swallows

The dusk now is hastily
Drenching my road,
(those lines of light have gone crazy somewhere).

Sorrow from my brain
Foams and floods
Into my weary limbs.

I pull at my leg, it drags behind.

Like swallows
The children of the neighbourhood
Wing along beside me,
Soaked with strength and joy.

[Si zogjë dallëndysheje, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 21. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

The Gravel of the Kir

White gravel, bereft of light,
Where at nighttime, thousands
Of stars descend
Unheard.

Perhaps they are eyes,
The eyes of children
Who died of wonder.

[Zalli i Kirit, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 23. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Kruja

(seen from Fushë-Kruja by night)

A garland of daisies
On your sallow
Breast,

Oh my country.

[Kruja, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 28. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Roads in Autumn

Complex canyons
In which the wind raves,
Amassing on doorsteps
Billows of dead leaves,
Mad tales.

[Rrugët në vjeshtë, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 43. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Allegro Furioso

... and often I've seen the lake choppy
Against the low-lying clouds,
With savage bolts of thunder,
With incessant foaming sabres,
All the force within it
Assaulting and assailing,

And all the while the rain kept falling...

[Allegro furioso, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 62. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

A Nail

A nail thrust knifelike into the wall, a nail
Thrust knifelike into the wall, a nail thrust,

A nail driven deep inside the wall, a nail
Driven deep inside the wall, a nail driven,

A nail left rusting in the wall, a nail
Left rusting in the wall, a nail left,

Thrust knifelike...
Driven deep...
Left rusting...

[Një gozdhë, from the volume Buzë të ngrira në gaz, Tirana: Dituria, 1994, p. 78. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]