Dissident Editions



poems of the month

orpheus in soho

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

wine and roses

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's
ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic






good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper




the three bears

three albanian tales

a little creation story



one not one

home, sweet home no longer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

never a pygmy

against money

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars


londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

in britain & america

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

a holy dog
& a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

ireland & the phallic continuum

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

a small town in france

western values


the problems of translating poetry

an albanian ikon ?

albanian donkeys

the bektashi dervishes

poems by ujko BYK

albanian love-poems

albanian poems of dissidence

albanian poems of exile

recent albanian poems


horatio morpurgo's albanian trip

albanian short stories

map of albania

the dictator's library



A Poem by the First of many fine modern Albanian Poets:

Gjergj Millosh Nikolla

To read this page properly, please ensure that the character encoding
of your browser is not set to the default 'Unicode'.



translated by Anthony Weir

Poverty, my friends, is a morsel hard to swallow,
a bite that sticks in your throat and makes you wretched,
as you look at its pale faces, rheumy eyes
watching you like ghosts, holding out emaciated hands.
Behind you they lie, prostrate their whole lives through
until their bleak demise, while
high above them, haughty crosses
and hard stone minarets pierce the sky,
prophets and polychrome saints look down.
And poverty feels even more diminished and betrayed.

Poverty carries its Mark of Cain,
hideous, repulsive, disgusting.
The brow that bears it, the eyes that show it,
the lips that try in vain to hide it
are the offspring of ignorance, the victims of disdain,
occasional recipients of scraps flung from the table
to rich people's greedy dogs.
Poverty has no luck, just rags
and tattered banners of pale hopes
ripped by broken promises.

Poverty wallows in desperate debauchery.
In dark corners, with dogs, rats, cats,
on mouldy, stinking, filthy mattresses,
naked breasts exposed, unhealthy, dirty bodies,
prey to sad, debauched desire,
kiss, suck, bite, devour, and flail and beat,
and in releasing lust their thirst is quenched,
the craving stilled, and self-consciousness erased.
This is the source of imbeciles, the servile and the beggars
who will be born to fill the streets tomorrow.

Poverty haunts eyes of babies,
flickers like a candle-flame
under ceilings black with smoke and dusty spider-webs,
where human shadows shake on damp-stained walls,
where sick infants wail like the damned
to suck dry breasts of wretched mothers
pregnant again, cursing God and Devil,
cursing their unborn children.

These babies never laugh, just waste away,
unwanted by unwilling mothers.
The cradle of the poor is misery
rocked by the hopeless.
The child of poverty is raised in the foul shadows
of great mansions, too high for the imploring voices
to disturb the peace and quiet of the rich
sleeping in blissful beds.

Poverty hardens a child early,
teaches it to dodge the threatening fist,
the hand which clutches at its throat in nightmares,
when the delirium of starvation starts
and when death casts its shadow on childish faces,
with hideous grimace.
While the fate of fruit is to mature and fall,
the child is buried undeveloped.
Poverty toils by day and night,
chest and forehead drenched in sweat,
up to the knees in mud and slime,
and empty stomachs racked by hunger.
Starvation wages! For such enforced misery
a few pennies and an 'On your way.'

Poverty sometimes paints its face,
swollen lips scarlet, hollow cheeks rouged,
and body an item in a filthy trade:
use and abuse for a pittance,
stained sheets, stained face...life just a stain.

The legacy of poverty is not cash
or heirlooms or property, of course,
but deformed bones, congenital disease,
and stories of a bygone day
when a house collapsed for lack of maintenance,
and the breadwinner screamed from underneath a beam,
'crushed by an angry God', the priest said.
And so ended the life of a feckless fool or an unfortunate.
and such histories fill
the cup of bitterness passed down the generations.

Poverty in drink seeks consolation,
in filthy taverns, with dirty, littered tables,
thirsting souls pour glass after glass of raki
down their throats to forget their woes -
the dulling glass, the glass satanic,
caressing with a vicious bite.
And when, like grass beneath the scythe, a man falls down
upon the filthy floor, he sobs and giggles, a tragicomic clown.

Poverty sets desires ablaze while turning them to ashes.
It knows no lightness, only pain,
misery reducing you to such despair
that you steal a rope and hang yourself.
Poverty wants no pity, only justice!
Pity? Bastard daughter of the hypocrites
who drop a penny in the beggar's hands
with calculating ostentation.
"The poor are always with us"
since civilisation began, and they will be with us
until it ends, remaining famine-struck
by doctrines rotting in great temples and grand ministries.




Kafshatë që s'kaperdihet asht, or vlla, mjerimi,
kafshatë që të mbet në fyt edhe të ze trishtimi,
kur sheh fytyra të zbehta edhe sy të jeshilta
që të shikojnë si hije dhe shtrijne duert e mpita
dhe ashtu të shtrime mbrapa teje mbesin
të tanë jetën e vet derisa të vdesin.
E mbi ta n'ajri, si në qesendi,
therin qiellin kryqet e minaret e ngurta,
profetent dhe shejtënt ne fushqeta të
shkëlqejnë. E mjerimi mirfilli ndien tradhëti.
Mjerimi ka vulën e vet te shëmtueme;
asht e neveritshme, e keqe, e turpshme;
balli që e ka, sytë që e shprehin,
buzët që me kot mundohen ta mshehin-
janë femijët e padijes e flitë e përbuzjes,
të mbetunat e flliqta rreth e përqark tryezës,
mbi të cilën hangri darkën një qen i
me bark shekullor, gjithmonë i pangishëm.
Mjerimi s'ka fat. Po ka vetëm zhele,
zhele fund e maje, flamujt e nji shprese
te shkyemë dhe të coptuem me të dalun bese.
. . . . . .

Mjerimi s'ka gëzim, por ka vetëm dhimba,
dhimba paduruese që të bajnë të çmendesh,
që t'apin litarin të shkojsh fillë e të varesh
ose bahe fle e njërë paragrafesh.

Mjerimi s'do mëshire. Por do vetëm të drejtë!
Mëshirë? Bijë bastarde e etenve dinakë,
të cilt në mënyrë pompoze posi farizejt
I bijnë lodertisë me ndjet dhelperak
tue ia lëshue lypsit një grosh të hollë në shplakë.

Mjerimi asht një njollë e pashleshme
në ballë të njerëzimit që kalon nepër shekuj.
Dhe kere njollë kurrë nuk asht e mundshme
ta shlyejnë paçavrat që zunë myk ndër



'Migjeni' - a distorted acronym of Gjergj Millosh Nikolla -
wrote most of his 35 remarkable poems at the end of his short life.

For more about him see an excellent history at:




>>> Dissident Albanian poems >>>

Post-liberation Albanian poems >>>

>>> Two non-dissident Albanian poems >>>

>>> Albanian poems of Exile >>>

>>> Mitrush Kuteli and Albanian Dirt: problems of translation >>>


Albanian Ottoman Architecture
click on this image to go to
an Albanian Ottoman Architecture





Filmi kanadezo-shqiptar, Gruaja pa krahë'
sapo ka fituar çmimin e argjendtë ‘Remi Award',
si pjesëmarrës në ‘Houston Worldfest 2003' në Teksas.

Shpirti i Shqiperisë

a canadian-albanian film
about the
"sworn virgins" of northern albania





top of page