Ali Podrimja

(1942 - 2012 / Gjakova, Albania)

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)

Submitted: Monday, July 21, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

[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]

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