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English  Albanian Literature in Translation

Robert Elsie

Classical Authors

Lasgush PORADECI

Lasgush PORADECI

Lasgush PORADECI (young)

Lasgush PORADECI (young)

 

Webdesign J. Groß

Lasgush PORADECI

 

Pogradec

A shimmering sunset on the endless lake.
Ghostlike, a veil is slowly spread.
Over mountain and meadow the dark of night descends,
Settling from the heavens upon the town.

Over the vast land no more sound is to be heard:
In the village the creaking of a door,
On the lake the silence of an oar.
Over the Mal i Thatë an elusive eagle soars.
My youthful heart retreats into the depths of my soul.

The whole town, all life, retires to the realm of sleep.
Darkness rules the four quarters of the earth. And now,
Setting out on his journey through Albania,
Legendary Father Drin arises at St. Naum's.

[Poradeci, 1929, from the volume Vdekja e nositit, Prishtina: Rilindja 1986, p. 67, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, and first published in English in An elusive eagle soars, anthology of modern Albanian poetry, London: Forest Books 1993, p. 2]

 

Morning

Like a spirit sombre within the breast
Lies the lake encased in hills.
Mirrored in its depths,
Night expires breath by breath.

I watch how she suffers, how she dies,
Her eyes blinking,
Azure-circled pools,
Like the stars of a fading sky.

But now the light of dawn
Shimmers deep within the lake.
The daystar steals away, melting
Like a piece of sugar candy.

Behold, day has dawned,
And lightning flashes from the depths.
Like a harbinger of morn
Appears, bird-white, a pelican.

[Mëngjes, from the volume Vdekja e nositit, Prishtina: Rilindja 1986, p. 81, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, and first published in English in An elusive eagle soars, anthology of modern Albanian poetry, London: Forest Books 1993, p. 3]

 

End of autumn

The last stork flew off, majestic and forlorn,
Soaring over the snowy mountains at the break of day,
After tapping on the door with his sturdy beak,
Leaving his nest to the master's care and departing heavy of heart.

No longer does the fateful bird comb the ploughed fields,
The furrows cut into the soil by mountain oxen,
No longer is the grey mouse heard scurrying over fallow land,
In the barren brake the speckled snake is dead.

Beneath the icy wind, the hoary earth lies silent,
The north wind howls through the withered trees.
As the cold grips harder, a clever little wren
Chatters blithely over hedge and over sedge.

Oh, how graceful was the stork, how slender and noble,
Pacing slowly like a bridegroom crowned!
At his side, with radiant breast, the crane,
With measured step, eyes uplifted - played his bride!

[Mbarim vjeshte, from the volume Vdekja e nositit, Prishtina: Rilindja 1986, p. 83, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, and first published in English in An elusive eagle soars, anthology of modern Albanian poetry, London: Forest Books 1993, p. 4]

 

Winter

From today my spirit is a recluse,
And banished is all my joy.
Long has it been that snow has lain
Over mountain and over wood.
Snowflakes come drifting one by one
Down upon the deserted village
And, shivering beneath the snow,
Earth slumbers, buried once again.

Slowly my spirit too sinks to the ground
In mourning, falling like a leaf.
Nary a soul is to be heard,
No people, no sign of life.

In such peace and tranquillity
I hear a bird lament,
Letting out a faint sigh,
Frightened to leave this life.

[Dimër, from the volume Vdekja e nositit, Prishtina: Rilindja 1986, p. 84, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, and first published in English in An elusive eagle soars, anthology of modern Albanian poetry, London: Forest Books 1993, p. 5]

 

Classical Authors

 

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