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WINTER 2022-23

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Ndue Ukaj

Translated by Edita Kuçi Ukaj

It is morning
and the good news doesn’t come as the melody of the birds:
it was once a time the spring,
the hope
and the awareness that freedom is the absence of slavery.

Now there is smoke and a bad smell
and spring resembles autumn.

Grief waves over our heads
this mortal flag that as a cortege of sadness
spruce from hand to hand.

The good news is not like dreams.
They are written in the tunnels where there is a lack of light,
where darkness powerfully extends the power
on the guards of fate-
those people who play in the theater of democracy.

The city sleeps restlessly
wakes up agitated
cries and laughs agitated.

Coffees are full of ghosts
and the rumble of bad news.

There is smoke and a flag of grief
which is stretched out like a scarf of pain
on the aggravated neck of a people
that seeks to burst with sadness.

And I took with me a bag of dreams
and I went out into the streets without hope.
I saw people turned into shadows,
a palace of solitude with refreshing props
and with the inscription:
“Freedom is a great deception.”

On the way, I kicked stones of thrown grief.
“How much madness carries my city on its shoulders” –
said the girl with the beautiful scarf around her sweet neck
and a black bag of sadness she carried with her.

Ndue Ukaj was born in Kosova, in 1977 and is a writer, essayist, literary critic. To date, he has published four poetry books, one short story, and two literary critics. He won several awards, including the National award for best book of poetry published in 2010 in Kosovo. His works have been published in distinguished international anthologies and journals and have been translated into many languages.