This is a melancholic poem by renowned Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. I bring it here in the Veqilharxhi alphabet along with a very, very rough translation ensuing.

Ca pika shiu ranë mbi qelq

Ismail Kadare, 1976

Some raindrops spattered the window glass

Ismail Kadare, 1976

Some raindrops spattered the window glass;
I sensed I missed you unawares.
We both reside in the same town,
yet so rarely see each other.

And it did feel a little uncanny
the way this autumn, this morn sprung in.
The gloomy heavens with no storks
And the rains with no rainbows amidst.

And an old saying by Heraclitus
for some reason sprung to mind:
“The waking have one common world,
whereas the sleeping turn aside.”

In what dream have we been trapped,
from which we can’t seem to escape?
Some raindrops spattered the window glass,
And I sensed I missed you unawares.


Header photo, rough English translation: 2018, itheorist.

A friend made a remark once: “Canadian poetry is mostly about place”. I hadn’t noticed it until I paused to reflect.

As you walk on Government St. near downtown Victoria — the capital of British Columbia — you get perplexed by the amount of detail: local shops, trees, street lights, tourists prowling around, beggars near Bastion Square, seagulls flying over intently and their droppings chaotically, but elegantly, spread on the sidewalks (and, occasionally, on somebody’s head).

Carla Funk’s Hide & Seek inscribed on a steal tree on Government & Broughton Streets, Victoria, BC (Photo credit: (C) 2012 William Borix. CC-BY-NC-ND)

Yet, few may have noticed a steel tree sculpture located on the corner of Government and Broughton streets. And even fewer pedestrians have stopped to reflect on the verses of a seeming poem embedded on the tree:

You who
lift a penny
from the gutter
& with the same hand
point out stars,
find me.

I later learned this remarkable stanza is from Hide and Seek, a poem by local Victoria poet Carla Funk, and was manifested on the tree by Glenn Closson.

If you’re ever there, glance at the tree for an extra, tax-free smile.