Lindita Ahmeti was born in Prizren in 1973 and lives in Skopje. Her first poetry collection, Mjedra dhe bluz (Raspberries and the Blues), Skopje 1993, was well received. Ahmeti, among the best-known poets of the Albanians in Macedonia, is the author of seven volumes of verse: Ishulli Adular (Adular Island),1996; Brezi i Zonjës (Rainbow), 2000; Vetë përballë Erosit (Alone in front of Eros), 2004; Nga Mështeknaja e babait (From the birchwood of my father), 2015; Dhoma pa derën dalëse (A room without exit door), 2015.


Before the small houses in Gazi Baba
The old men gather in the alley,
How white
In the muddy square.
There they disperse their memoirs
O’er the asphalt,
Never red, never black,
And marching, surging,
The Turks,
The first Serb,
The first Bulgarian,
The second Serb,
The second Bulgarian,
Greeks, Greeks, Greeks,
Byzantium, Asia,
And Europe locked
In Scanderbeg’s grave,
All the while, the old men squat
Before the small houses in Gazi Baba.

Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie.

Letter to my Brother

Nothing new going on here, brother,
Everything is just as it was,
The new trees are infected by a fungus,
As always
The flaking whitewash falling off the wall,
As you know,
Joseph’s mother has come back.
The same things are happening
In the bramble bushes.
I alone have changed,
I alone strain to hear your voice,
For example,
When you’ll return.

Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie

Who Will Bring Word to Me

At the Balcаns, the door open,
I am waiting,
A year, a century,
God, a grey year,
A terrible year,
A deaf year,
I am waiting,
Centuries spent waiting,
The year makes no move,
Wedged between the hands of the clock,
An ominous hour,
And I keep watch,
Nowhere the racing pigeons,
The postmen felled by smallpox,
I look through the gaping door,
A coat of dust on the grass,
Silt in the trees,
Who will bring word to me?

Translated by Robert Elsie.