Alisa Velaj was born in the southern port town of Vlora, Albania in 1982. She has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK in June 2014. Velaj’s full-length book of poetry A Gospel of Light is published by Aquillrellle in June 2015. Her works have appeared in more than 60 print and online international magazines, including FourW twenty-five Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA), The Linnet’s Wings (UK), etc. Her works will soon appear in The Seventh Quarry (UK), Envoi Magazine (UK), etc.


Of what was it I was thinking?
So the meaning escapes.
An excerpt from “Metaphors of a Magnifico” by Wallace Stevens

The first man said that the sunset was visiting the city
Together with one or two lumps
The second man said that the lumps had arrived at sunset
The third man spent one full day thinking only about the lumps
Then he spent a full winter night thinking only about the sunsets
Afterwards he thought about both the sunsets and the lumps
At the end he concluded that the first two men were wrong
He also denied to have thought about them…


The old women witch river banks
Wetting white sheets of snow
And wrapping a dead mouse in them

God forgive them
They do not know what they are doing

The sheets belonged to a virgin girl
They killed the mouse in a dark hole at night
(Girls and mouse are their sacrifice)

God forgive them
They know no other light

They begin to sing a luring melody
Under the rhythm of steps that has lost the way home
Without knowing that the river has no memory at all
It knows only how to flow and flow, only this much…

My God, I shall not speak any more
From today on the muteness of the ocean will be my language


For my mother Elvedina

Mom, don’t let the autumn leaves
Fly over your head
They contain sorrows of birds
And whispers of breezes and memories of desert winds
Raising clouds of reddish dust
(Its colour is that of autumn leaves)

Mom, this sea morning is so bright
That every ray of sunshine entangled with your hair
Tells me that there are whites whiter than the snow
Heights higher than the sky
And that it is never late to learn the language of love

This sky of gulls is so peaceful
That your deep eyes, these two tiny blue holes
Can hide the purest Gospel of light
That leaves and winds read once in a while…


The cricket sings to the night and the moon
The moon is full and yellow

Sometimes the cricket does not sing to the moon
She stays hidden among the clouds and shines on its own self

The cricket continues singing at moonless nights
Thus falling prey to predators

But even when the moon appears in the sky, the same happens
The predator may devour the cricket together with its song

These poems are translated from the Albanian language by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj and are included in Velaj’s poetry book A Gospel of Light published by Aquilrrelle.