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from the September 2016 issue

I am leaving you Europe

In the following poem, Hajdari evokes Halil, the mythic character of the cycle of Albanian epic narrative poems (the Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors); Jutbina, a borderland between Albania and ex-Yugoslavia; and Bjeshkët e Nëmuna: the Cursed Mountains, as the northern Albanian Alps are called.

I am leaving you Europe, corrupt old whore.

Your ruins no longer enchant me,
your mirrors and abysses have misled my exile,
wounded my wretched body of the East
in front of false petrified altars.

Good-bye Europe of walls, drowned voices and watery tombs.

My castrated homeland forced me to leave,
your eunuch saints abandoned me under the rain,
a foreigner.

Tomorrow, at dawn,
I will leave on the first ship across the Tyrrhenian,
from the port of Circeo,
accompanied by the fatal songs of the Sirens,
towards the Southern Cross
without looking back.

Unknown wayfarers await me in faraway deserts,
warriors of ancient tribes, belly dancers;
I will steal young girls from the courts of borderland kings,
like Halìl di Jutbìna of the mountains Bjeshkët e Nëmuna,
to offer them in marriage to my lord
and give life to a new race.

I will set fire to the old worn out languages,
shake off identities, citizenships and motherlands;
I want to live my life in prison,
far from my books,
with honest bandits and outlaws.

Goodbye Europe of blood spilled in the name of murderous borders
and bloodied flags.

Tomorrow, at dawn,
I will leave on the first ship across the Tyrrhenian,
from the port of Circeo,
accompanied by the fatal songs of the Sirens,
towards the Southern Cross.


Bonus: Gëzim Hajdari reads his poem ”I am leaving you Europe” in Albanian. 

 

From Delta del tuo Fiume. © 2015 Gëzim Hajdari. By arrangement with the author. Translation © Patrick Barron. All rights reserved.

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