October 02, 2007

Poetry - Table of Contents - IntraText CT

All of this discussion of Albanian music has had me thinking about things long past.

You likely don't know this, but back in 1991 I took an Albanian language class. I suck at languages, all of them, so I didn't get too far or do too well. But I had this idea of going there since it was suddenly being opened to American visitors and it seemed like a new frontier. At the time, I was in a European history PhD program. I went to Hungary that year and met some people who had been in Albania and I was convinced I had to go. I never did make it there, and ended up getting the European history masters and then going into the brighter sunlight (and better funding opportunities) of US history. But I have never lost this fascination for things Albanian (even beyond the Belushis).

So, on a whim I just decided to look up Martin Camaj, who was kind of a strange Albanian poet I had read back then. Most of the sites about him are in Albanian (including Albanian Wikipedia pages) but I was happy to find a page with many of his poems on something called "IntraText."

Here is one of his poems, it gives you a feeling of his general vibe. Some of his stuff reads like death metal lyrics.

Mountain feast
(Drek√ę malsore)

by Martin Camaj

Blood was avenged today.
Two bullets felled a man.

Blood was avenged today.

Under the axe-head
The ox's skull bursts by the stream.
(Today there will be great feasting!)

Blood was avenged today.

The wailing of men gone wild
Mingles with the smell of meat on the fires.
And the autumn foliage falls
Scorched on the white caps
At the tables, outside.

Night. At the graves on the hill
Fresh earth, new moon.

The wolves have descended from the mountains
And drink blood at the stream.

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