Two Poems

Poetry Gëzim Hajdari
Translated from the Italian by Charif Shanahan

[WE CLUTCH AT OUR NAMES]

Ripped from the earth like weeds
we clutch at our names,

we do not know how
this loneliness has found us.

Maybe we should have lived
closer to the trees,
to the upturned tombstones.

For years we have walked
the bare fields
without a childhood.

A slow snow begins to fall
from our bodies.


[I SING MY PRESENT BODY]

I sing my present body
born from this cold space
which promises nothing.

At night,
visions of white temples
call to me through the emptiness.

I have dreamed of solitary fields
in search of mythic symbols,
to comprehend the sky’s mask,
which longs for the abyss.

I don’t know why I have looked so long
at the thin line of the horizon,
at bare summits with black birds.

Where does it hide, what I cannot find?
On the quivering algae,
among the white lichens?

I continue across the wasted fields
bringing only my body with me.

I will leave nothing behind.





Charif Shanahan’s poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in the New Republic, Prairie Schooner, Barrow Street, Circumference, Apogee, the Manhattanville Review, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem Fellow, he works as the programs director for the Poetry Society of America and as the poetry editor for Psychology Tomorrow Magazine.

“Each new issue feels like a public report from many individual private spheres.” —Antoine Wilson

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Issue 22

ISSUE

22

Winter 2015

Author

Gëzim Hajdari was born in Lushnjë, Albania, and has been living in political exile near Rome since the early 1990s. He was awarded the 1997 Eugenio Montale Poetry Prize for his collection Corpo presente (Body present, Tirana), which includes the poems in this issue.

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