Ngjarje në tokë (Occurrence on earth)

ngjarje-ne-tokeTitle: Ngjarje në tokë (Occurrence on earth)

Author: Preç Zogaj

Place of Publication: Tirana

Year of Publication: 2011

Publisher: Tirana Times & AIIS

ISBN 978-9928-4038-5-8

Genre: Poetry

 © all rights reserved to Tirana Times & AIIS” Publishing House




 “It is a poem with feeling. It has the temperature of life, of humanity.” (Visar Zhiti)

As a poet, Zogaj is profoundly in love with Albanian distinctive natural beauty, rugged mountains, and picturesque Adriatic coastline. He is intensely interested in the social, economic and political aspect of his country. As a result, a fair amount of the cultural substance of this background is infused into his verse. (Gjekë Marinaj)

Occurrence on earth, translated and published in English by the Center for Translation Studies of The University of Dallas, Texas (USA), speaks to the collective experience of his people during the period leading up to and immediately following the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.  Zogaj’s verses, composed between 1989 and 2008, present the haunting introspection of a people just emerging from decades of life under one of the world’s most isolated and repressive dictatorship.


I TOOK SORROW BY THE HAND                                                         

I took sorrow by the hand,

Went to drown it in the river,

But the stream was too shallow.

Tossed it over my shoulder like a sack,

Went to throw it from a cliff top,

But the ground was too near.

Then I swaddled it in a cradle,

Two days and nights I rocked it,

But it wouldn’t fall asleep.

Now I wander the streets,

With sorrow on my face:

Forgive me, I say to all.



People were dying,

Seasons getting killed.

Women with hungry children at their bosoms,

Waiting in line, in silence answering,

Destroying wisdom itself.

I thought only of you.

Back and forth, back and forth.

The sea besieged the bay chasing the clouds,

Like the Jel mountains pursued the deer

In a dream that I had from forgotten time.

The nights would fall, the memories, the leaves.

My future Decembers, what I had left,

Were falling on top of each other faster than the time

Of this planet.

From a mountain  defiled

My dear grandma kept signaling,

As if she wanted me to turn my head

Toward the old snake that menaced me from behind.

Get away! Get away! Get away!

I thought only of you.

I thought

Only of you.

I thought

Only of you.

Were you the sister of Jesus,

O quiet,

Spirit made of matter,

Thought, illness that changes systems ?!


The extract is translated from the Albanian by Gjekë Marinaj