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> Flori Bruqi:Kush eshte Ali Podrimja
Flori Bruqi
Postuar nė: 29.10.2006, 16:16
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Ali Podrimja (b. 1942) was born in Gjakova at the foot of the so-called ‘Mountains of the Damned.’ After a difficult childhood, he studied Albanian language and literature in Prishtina. Author of over a dozen volumes of cogent and assertive verse since 1961, he is recognized both in Kosova and in Albania itself as a leading and innovative poet. Indeed, he is considered by many to be the most typical representative of modern Albanian verse in Kosova and is certainly the Kosova poet with the widest international reputation. Podrimja’s first collection of elegiac verse, Thirrje, Prishtina 1961 (The calls), was published while he was still at secondary school in Gjakova. Subsequent volumes introduced new elements of the poet’s repertoire, a proclivity for symbols and allegory, revealing him as a mature symbolist at ease in a wide variety of rhymes and meters. In the early eighties, he published the masterful collection Lum Lumi, Prishtina 1982 (Lum Lumi), which marked a turning point not only in his own work but also in contemporary Kosova verse as a whole. This immortal tribute to the poet’s young son Lumi, who died of cancer, introduced an existentialist preoccupation with the dilemma of being, with elements of solitude, fear, death and fate. Ali Podrimja is nonetheless a laconic poet. His verse is compact in structure, and his imagery is direct, terse and devoid of any artificial verbosity. Every word counts. What fascinates the Albanian reader is his compelling ability to adorn this elliptical rocky landscape, reminiscent of Albanian folk verse, with unusual metaphors, unexpected syntactic structures and subtle rhymes.
Take this stone
Take this stone and cast it
Wherever you wish
If you wish
Beyond my thread and tribe
Beyond the nine wounds
of Gjergj Elez Alia
Nail it if you wish
wall it in
Take this stone
Baptize it or leave it nameless
I have changed the time, the climate
Leave it without land, without sky
Take this stone and cast it
Wherever you wish
Its strength makes us immortal
[Merreni kėtė guri, from the volume Credo, Prishtina: Rilindja 1976, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 69]

Song of freedom
Everything about you, your birth
And your step Lumi
My security in life
Listen to the ancient flute
An eerie beast is sniffing about
In Europe
Many a song is sung
But only one song never ends
The song of freedom
[Kėnga e lirisė, from the volume Lum Lumi, Prishtina: Rilindja 1982, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 111]

Paris, native land
We'll go to Paris
There we shall lay our stone
Teuta, Genti will not be expecting us
The savage Roman hordes will not be expecting us
No one will be expecting us
To Paris we shall go
We shall hang our dreams on stork wings
At a fountain we shall wash our eyes, our wart-covered hands
We shall leave the Balkan nights behind us
the dances, the songs, the ballads, the tales
The flute alone we shall take with us
To play whenever we are homesick
when we get lost in the crowds of drunks
in the shadows
amongst the rats
Late at night in the streets of Paris in the frantic metro
We shall smell the fragrance of the quince from our native land
With our fingers we will talk of vile times
We shall not step on any ants
We shall not frighten any birds
We shall vent neither hellfire nor spleen
upon the head of man
We shall not bow to a torpid Europe
nor to any deranged gods
Promise me Lum Lumi
That we will not forget our native land
(Paris 1981)
[Parisi, vendlindja, from the volume Lum Lumi, Prishtina: Rilindja 1982, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 125]

And you dead
It was summer
Overhead the sun
Shadows, you around Europe
From that horrible journey
You returned one day with eyes wide open
You entered your father's poem without knocking
There you are in safety Lumi
I swear no harm
Will come to you
It was summer
The sun in the west
And you dead, earth
[E ti i vdekur, from the volume Lum Lumi, Prishtina: Rilindja 1982, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 135]

Agony
I don't know why I long for Skopje
Now that Lumi is no longer there
And Baci Bajram no longer descends the Kaēaniku Gorge
I don't know why
I plunge my hands deep into the waters of the Vardar
And black out
I don't know why I stumble and fall
With the rain battering down upon me
Until I lock myself in my room
I don't know why
I really don't know why
Skopje causes me such anguish
[Rektime, from the volume Fund i gezuar, Prishtina: Rilindja 1988, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 181]

It is the Albanian's fault
It is the Albanian's fault
That he breathes
And walks on two legs
That I take tranquillizers
And swat flies all day
In the Toilet
It is the Albanian's fault
That he besmirches your wife
And frightens my family
That my hand cannot reach the apple
On the highest branch
That he has filled the Well with dead words
It is the Albanian's fault
That not more of Turkey exists,
More of America of Norway
That the Gulag is so far away
That they chose me and sent me
To sniff him out
Does death smell
It is all the more the Albanian's fault
That he does not eat
Or close his eyes and sleep
That our sewers are broken
And the Catacombs of the Balkans
Have fallen into ruins
It is the Albanian's fault
That he whiles away the time under the moon
And breaks windows and stirs up muddy water
That he speaks Albanian that he eats Albanian
that he shits Albanian
It is the Albanian's fault
The Albanian is the one at fault
For all my undoings
Both for my broken tooth
And for my frozen smile
So therefore: BULLET
Ha ha ha
Ha ha
Ha
May God have mercy!
[Fajtor ėshtė shqiptari, from the volume Fund i gezuar, Prishtina: Rilindja 1988, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 193]

If
If a people
Have no poets
And no poetry of their own
For a National Anthology
Then treachery and barking
Will do the trick
[Nėse, from the volume Fund i gezuar, Prishtina: Rilindja 1988, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 197]

Who will slay the wolf
for F. Altimari
And the gentleman said
Should you happen to come upon
An Albanian and a wolf
Slay the Albanian
When the Albanian heard the saying
He smiled
And rolled himself a cigarette
If you slay me
my poor friend
Who will slay
The wolf
Poor herds
(Cosenza 1988)
[Kush do ta vrasė ujkin, from the volume Zari, Prishtina: Rilindja 1990, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 211]

When will you speak out, Ali Podrimja
The star goes out with a bang
You look us in the eye and gulp
Never do you turn your back on us, Ali Podrimja
You sit out there in the cold and remain silent for years
you still believe
in mankind
They counterfeit your name
your family name signature date of birth
mother's name father's name place of birth
of your ancestors
childhood tales dances games
heroes songs laments celebrations
They make fun
of your ancient language your people
and spew torrents of abuse
And you remain silent, Ali Podrimja
you still believe
in mankind
In sombre vaults in mediaeval cellars
strange concoctions appellations ruins curses
barking pursuits arrests
the savage hunt
Candles and incense are lit are quenched the words the bodies
the reservations drop away
the children take flight under the wings of fate
a Woman weaves and tears up the fabric
in a paper Tower
In the sky overhead loom shadows crows ravens
you comb golden locks
with a handful of earth in your lap
you set off for distant lands
In the fashionable part of Europe you are an Albanais
In Italy an Arbėresh in Greece an Arvanitas
In Turkey elhamdulillah an Arnaut
In America canned meat
and nothing else
nothing else
Who knows how many languages your God speaks
And you remain silent Ali Podrimja
you still believe
in mankind
But but
When will you speak out good man
Or must you first be born
Why does the moss cover your roof
[Kur do tė flasesh o Ali Podrimja, from the volume Zari, Prishtina: Rilindja 1990, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 229]

Or, or
Should you long
to see Albanians
Go down to the train station in a big city
Worn-out shoes they wear
And white socks
Or or
On Marienplatz or at the Eiffel Tower
just whistle a heroic tune
Into a circle you go
there you have them all those rigid faces
But do not be frightened off
For solitude can make you sick
That awesome brutality of cement
(Munich, 18 April 1992)
[Ose,ose, from the volume Buzėqeshje nė kafaz, Tirana, Lidhja e Shkrimtarėve 1993, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 243]

Wandering with wolves
Wandering with wolves is more than interesting
When you set off for the Forest
You discover your real face
The journey may take longer than you have years
it can happen
that you gallop right through it
He who has not made the journey with them
Knows not what freedom is
Or the shirt of the stars
You must be aware
Without losing an arm or an eye
You cannot open the door easily
Nothing
Falls
From heaven
(Feldafing, 6 June 1992)
[Udhėtimi me ujq, from the volume Buzėqeshje nė kafaz, Tirana, Lidhja e Shkrimtarėve 1993, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie, first published in English in Who will slay the wolf. Selected poetry by Ali Podrimja, New York, Gjonlekaj Publishing 2000, p. 255]


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