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Poetry

February Sky
Large, gray, sprawled like an old elephant. Winter is ending. Low, sloping roofs are overturned boats slumbering along the shores of drowsiness.Twenty years of an oak tree's life is burned instantly…
Translated from Albanian
The Postman
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
He comes to me every day with a cruel bounce in his stepwith eyes darting like little green flames—the town postman in a heavy, damp coatjovially announcing he has nothing for me.I see his blue…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
The Cinema
Without fail Sundays at the cinema were always rainy days big black umbrellas clashing against the ticket booth. The doorman among the torn stubs looked like a watercolor hung crookedly on a kitchen wall.…
Translated from Albanian
It’s Not Time For . . .
It's not time for a change. As long as I can remember it's never been time for a change. Like cars that screech to a halt houses stand poised in their old breeding ground of rotten acacia leaves.From…
Translated from Albanian
An Alphabetical Formation
AlifYou're not beginning . . .It's an eternity, you know . . .I mean, the ever-after, you knowNo matter, then.Raise your cavalryBut do not leave behind the horizon,Or the sea . . . or the soillines…
Translated from Arabic
Groans
1 Here I am you alone In this mad, gaping Hell Here I am you alone and death altogether With its predators and its seers and the informers Perhaps I am arriving at The limit of my possibilities For you…
Translated from Arabic
Shadows on the Snow
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
The snow comes late this year. Violet shadowsdoze like shepherds rounda white fire.The swaying shadow of a fence looks like a woman's clavicle—a woman who dreams of her lover's snowy journey…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
An Alphabetical Formation
AlifYou're not beginning . . .It's an eternity, you know . . .I mean, the ever-after, you knowNo matter, then.Raise your cavalryBut don't set out for the horizon,Or the sea . . . or the soillines…
Translated from Arabic
AGAIN: IN THE INTERVALS OF SLEEP
what is watching always comes to an end: and the day! and the world! . . it is the unique the unceasing - is…
Translated from Russian
CONSOLATION: ROSES
to N. A. in your presence even the toes are as if they remembered! and the mind more strongly pierces our head in…
Translated from Russian
THIRD GRASSHOPPER
(after the Grasshoppers of Velimir Khlebnikov and e.e. cummings) to my son Andrey grasshopper-sign flickers over field…
Translated from Russian
AND: LIKE A WHITE PAGE
in dust is no vowel. . . death is a sound: a shout - to God? he - in the surface of dust: is what then - a gleam? oh…
Translated from Russian
FIELD – ALL YEAR – OUT OF THE WINDOW
to W. Woroczylski behind my back - it seemed - were islands: of the terror-idea! - as if a certain…
Translated from Russian
PLACE: A BEER-STALL
oh clearly with gathered force everywhere it shows itself: skyglow of the year like features of the land: drawing: from…
Translated from Russian
WORK: MORNING: PAPERS
to V. S. but you are not the surrounding of such a one but a stair in yourself where poverty is like skyglow: oh ice-holes…
Translated from Russian
FACE THEREAFTER
whole - with a whisper of ordering of the firmament and as out of the shining face in a time of sorrow - mine - I create it< and…
Translated from Russian
from Mozart’s Third Brain
LV Democracy's secret In free, general elections, with secret ballots There, too, is music's concealment, its inaccessibility, eye to eye Where…
Translated from Swedish
New Year
New Year, don't come to our homes, for we are wanderers from a ghost-world, denied by man. Night flees from us, fate has deserted us We live as wandering spirits with no memory no dreams, no longings,…
Translated from Arabic
The Other Body / The Other Home
By Adonis
Migration is another name for exile made gentler by the alphabet.
Translated from Arabic by Ammiel Alcalay & Kamal Boullata
Love Song for Words
Why do we fear words when they have been rose-palmed hands, fragrant, passing gently over our cheeks, and glasses of heartening wine sipped, one summer, by thirsty lips? Why do we fear words when among…
Translated from Arabic
A Stranger by the Gulf (1953)
The wind gasps with the midday heat, like a nightmare in the late afternoon And on the masts, it continues to fold, to spread for departure The gulf is crowded with them--laborers…
Translated from Arabic
Nothing but Iraq (March 29, 2003)
I remember as-Sayyab screaming into the Gulf in vain: Iraq, Iraq. Nothing but Iraq. And nothing but an echo replies I remember as-Sayyab, in that Sumerian space A woman triumphed over the sterility of…
Translated from Arabic
To Marina Tsvetaeva
Many a one has sunk in the abyss of horrid silence, and you among them, slender ghost whom I evoked with tools that are improbable, a little pile of grammars and of dictionaries, or now, with more urgency…
Elegy
By Ahmad Shamlou
And so we repeat the round / of night and day
Translated from Persian by Zara Houshmand
Learn
A couple at the tomb of the poet Hafez.
By Adam Jones. License: CC BY 2.0.
The Fish
By Ahmad Shamlou
I think my heart has never been / like this / so warm and red.
Translated from Persian by Zara Houshmand
Learn
Existence
By Ahmad Shamlou
If this is life—how pure!
Translated from Persian by Zara Houshmand