Ndue Ukaj – Despair

Ukaj LE P&W April 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2024.

Despair, poems by Ndue Ukaj.

Translated from the Albanian by Edita Kuçi Ukaj.


Despair has no home,
but dwells wherever meaning is lost
and the story of the Other begins.
Where false witnesses take the big step forward,
with smiling eyes and a poisoned heart.

They wake up with paintings of Pilate in their eyes.
They soak the dried bite in the deep dish of betrayal.

They always have nails to crucify the Other.
They have memorized, crucifixion.
They have time for hatred and no time for love.

Where I Am is beautiful, views stretch like the infinity of mountains.

I do not like the story of the Other who is caught up in nothingness;
and on a beautiful evening like this
I say to myself:
my compassion is solar, circumstantial —
I do not want to hold my smile hostage.

That life is beautiful

That life is beautiful
you don’t need further proof,
neither guides,
neither economic experience nor scientific statistics.
It’s enough to wake up in the morning
and see the dawn of the new day,
hills undressed of darkness,
trees freed from night captivity
and light-wings girls walking with the wind.
Then listen to the song of the birds
or to see the wonder of a mountain landscape.

How many landscapes are before our eyes?

It is enough to have someone’s hands which embrace you
and you see the heavens open
and feel how all the emptiness of the world is filled.

That life is beautiful
you don´t need much proof
it´s enough to have a roof to shelter the pain
for the dissolved desires.

Life is also full of madness,
and for that doesn’t need much proof.

It’s enough to know
that Ernesto Sabbato showed that a hungry man in a concentration camp
was forced to eat a live mouse.

Oh there is much more madness
that revolve around us: storms, wars, strong winds,
viruses that plague death and misery.

However, you never need too much news,
you can free your mind from captivity
with a sweet hug
and write an amazing book for tomorrow.


The last hour of the lesson by agreement was devoted to melancholy.
To Study clearly why the stars shine
in the hours of broken feelings for something we lost,
that a lesson we never learned.

Good and evil live under one roof
and they never break their marriage.

While sentences form the power of feathers
and the birds sing in the air of wrath
a grim rain falls on me
And someone through him flies into the age of light
where insufficiency is not questioned
nor the power of the stars.

Today women are confused,
dry trees that justify the lack of water,
lack of love.

How many battles there are for things we do not achieve.
For the threat, we cause to fate with a volcanic look
and fruit in the free conscience.

Yes, the cathedral dressed in white
how it happened that it was erased from my eyes.


I wake up and I do not like mirrors,
They seem to be an extension of the unwanted dream.
But I need to look mi at them,
in the morning when I take the path to you, my new day.

When I take the road to you,
my new day,
you who hold the power of miseries
of all the hours of humanism surrounded by high walls.

You also told me you do not like the mirror.
Because you hate her contemptuous look
or the stain is hidden on your forehead.

And I see you less and less happy
when you make your way to the mirrors.
There you really see your face.
An expectation that resembles a lifetime.

© Ndue Ukaj

Ndue Ukaj was born in Kosovo in 1977 and is a writer, essayist, and literary critic. To date, he has published five books of poetry, one short story collection, one novel, and two works of literary criticism. He has won several awards including the National Award for Best Book of Poetry published in Kosovo in 2010. His works have been featured in distinguished international anthologies and journals and have been translated into numerous languages. Additionally, he has authored a dozen articles in the fields of culture and politics.

Translated from the Albanian by Edita Kuçi Ukaj.

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