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POEMS by Alisa Velaj


I fear the oblivion of a stone

At the dusk of a nameless city

My grandmother had told me that the stone

Has breathed sadness since immemorial times

For it carries the city in its bone…

(Translation from Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj)


Taking shape after shape,

Matter translates into different selves

At the speed of light.

Paralysis shines in human eyes.

(Translation by Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj)


Shadow ravens

Preach by the river

Of the white lilies

(Translation Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj)


A ring with a black ribbon

Running through it

Flies in the air

As if it were a flag at half mast

No cherub

Is raising toasts at the wedding party…

(Translation by Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj)


That these oak trees possess a soul like mine

(even though temporary),

this is a more-than-obvious empirical statement.

​The snow sods besieging them like army legions,

the light that dusks down yet without dawning up,

Thor's onslaughts raging in frosty storms,

not only won't subdue them in any way,

but they will invincibly stand up by the roadside,

like light-reveling cherubs

​to the aggrieved passerby!


According to Aristotle, 

oak trees and ostriches 

possess a psyche or soul.  


(Translated by Arben P. Latifi)

Alisa Velaj was born in Albania, in 1982. She a Ph.D. in Albanian Language and Literature, which she has been teaching as subjects at university level, while writing poetry, prose, essays, articles, and research studies. Velaj was shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her work has been published in over 100 international online forums, printed magazines and anthologies across many countries (USA, UK, Sweden, Australia, Israel, India). Alisa earned an Artist-in-Residence Scholarship in February 2019 and attended the AIR Litteratur Västra Götaland Program in Villa Martinson, Jonsered, Sweden. In 2020, she won The National Prize in Poetry, awarded by the Albanian Ministry of Culture.

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