top of page

Alisa Velaj



“What terrifies you most in purity?” I asked.

“Haste,” William answered.


An excerpt from Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose


From now on I am your unreachable present

You are my already abandoned past

Over there on the shores of the shadows

On the sun’s left


Every morning on the sun’s right cactuses bloom flowers

Enduring no more than your haste can handle

Then, with purity, they embrace sunsets

To greet light again at dawns


You are my already abandoned yesterday

Between you and me, two eyes of a distant eagle

From the hardly visible mountain on the sun’s shores






There was a time

Called the time of leaves

When you and I

When both of us

Discovered the Moon

In an unknown remote forest


You had found greenery

Buried in darkness

I had encountered you

Travelling towards light


Then we learned to find

Trees and leaves with ease

In the thicket of darkness

In the thicket of light


You love me and the moon


There came a time

Again they called it the time of leaves

But the lost forest could not be found

And the moon suddenly hid

From you


You loved me no more

You no more knew what or whom you loved…







The thought that I had lost you

Appeared to me in a dream tonight, Ares

A flame struggled to devour

A crucified Christ

And I, horrified, in a roofless room

Protected myself from the bats running into the walls


Ares, my sadness was so deep

That I woke up from the dream with much haste

Outside the roof tiles flew with the wind

And the bats lay dead in the yard

Like Pyrrhus’ soldiers after the battle…


It was better that you did not appear in that horrible mess

You would have been an uninvited guest, Ares…








My sad hero



Swans of nightmares

Will always leave

My lake of love legacies

Of troubled symphonies


Even if another love

Comes in

Even if it

Is greater than pain



To you fleeing as fast as wind



You always failed

To tell the white from the blue

And so you pawned me

This sadness of colours

Carrying a soul I cannot read

Whenever dusks fall

Whenever swans

Call on their songs…






At sunset

The ivory shore

Changed into a bay and a season of firs


There I have met both water and fire


Wind sounds

Fell fearfully on leaves

And became birds


Then at the end of winter

The fire sailed

Towards another bay

And the birds

Fled from the greenery


Then bending my body down

I watched the corals

And blessed the fir

With its face turned towards the East…



Never force yourself into singing songs

Let the sounds find the path leading to you


For there will come a time

A time will come

When the ghosts of the hallow tree

On which you are building your house

Will conquer your forest, your yard, your being

As if they were metastasis of darkness

Invading a church that has never been a church


Never trust the song

For the cuckoo often hides itself in the nightingale’s voice

The nightingale, yes, the nightingale is always the nightingale

Train your ears so that the sounds cannot deceive you


For there will come a night

A night will come

When the heart of the hallow tree

Will be our final home


Then every morning the nightingales will migrate never to return

And you will remain a cuckoo sharing company with the blind night

Alisa Velaj (born 1982, Vlorë, Albania) is an Abanian poet whose work has appeared in a number of print and online international magazines, including “Blue Lyra Review”, “One title reviews”, ‘The Cannon’s Mouth’ (UK), ‘The missing slate’ (UK), ‘The Midnight Diner’ (USA), ‘Poetica’ (USA), ‘Time of Singing’ (USA), "Canto" (USA), ‘Enhance’ (USA) “Ann Arbor Review” (USA) ‘The French Literary Review” (UK), “SpeedPoets” (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), “LUMMOX Poetry Anthology 3” (USA), “Erbacce” (UK), "fourW twenty-five Anthology" (Booranga Writers' Centre, Australia), “Poetry Super Highway” (USA) and “Knot Magazine” (USA). She also has works in forthcoming issues of “Poetica”, “Otter”, “The Journal” and in the Anthology by Mago Books.


Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted of the annual international erbacce-press poetry award in June 2014. She is also shortlisted in the Aquillrelle Publishing Contest 3 in January 2015. Her poems are translated into English by Ukë Buçpapaj.




bottom of page