Vladimir Levchev - THE BALKAN BRIDGE

For Ismail Kadare

For millennia we have quarrelled,
for millennia we have built and demolished
the Balkan bridge
(over the Drina,
over the Danube,
over the Ujana e Keqe
in Albania) . . .

For millennia we have asked ourselves:
Where is the Golden City –– East
or West?
Where is the real Prophet?
And what will be our profit
from that bridge
between the Sunrise and the Sunset?

With knifes in our teeth,
we have asked ourselves:
Is it true that living people,
our people,
have been immured
to make the bridge stronger?

For millennia we have quarrelled, and fought,
died and killed,
built and demolished . . .

the airlines were invented.
Today no traveler can see
our ancient bridge.

Тranslated by the author with Alicia Ostriker