Showing posts with the label C.P. Cavafy

The Ides of March…

Be fearful of exalted rank, o soul. And if you are unable to subdue your aspirations — doubtingly pursue them and with precautions. And the more you rise, the more examining, the warier be. And when you are arrived at the supreme height of your glory — a Caesar, as it were: when you are become a man so widely famed: then specially be wary — at such time as you come out into the thoroughfares, a noted ruler with great following: if peradventure, from the multitude, some friendly person, an Artemidorus, bringing a paper, should press near to you and rap out sharp “Read this without delay; herein are weighty matters touching you”, fail not to tarry; fail not to postpone all talk or business; fail not to turn off the different hangers-on who bow and scrape, (you will attend to them in time); let even the Senate wait; — leave all, and learn at once the grave things written by Artemidorus. CP Cavafy

Waiting for the Barbarians

Originally posted 3/27/2010 When are you at war, and with whom? What happens when you take sides? What happens if you don't take a side?* Waiting for the Barbarians by C.P. Cavafy The barbarians are to arrive today. Why such inaction in the Senate? Why do the Senators sit and pass no laws? Because the barbarians are to arrive today. What laws can the Senators pass any more? When the barbarians come they will make the laws. Why did our emperor wake up so early, and sits at the greatest gate of the city, on the throne, solemn, wearing the crown? Because the barbarians are to arrive today. And the emperor waits to receive their chief. Indeed he has prepared to give him a scroll. Therein he inscribed many titles and names of honor. Why have our two consuls and the praetors come out today in their red, embroidered togas; why do they wear amethyst-studded bracelets, and rings with brilliant, glittering emeralds; why are they carrying costly canes today, w


by Constantine P. Cavafy       As you set out for Ithaka hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as your keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them unless you bring them inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you.   Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when, with what happiness, what joy, you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind- as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on leaning from their scholars. Keep Ithaka always in y

One of Their Gods

by C.P. Cavafy When one of them moved through the marketplace of Selefkia just as it was getting dark— moved like a young man, tall, extremely handsome, with the joy of being immortal in his eyes, with his black and perfumed hair— the people going by would gaze at him, and one would ask the other if he knew him, if he was a Greek from Syria, or a stranger. But some who looked more carefully would understand and step aside; and as he disappeared under the arcades, among the shadows and the evening lights, going toward the quarter that lives only at night, with orgies and debauchery, with every kind of intoxication and desire, they would wonder which of Them it could be, and for what suspicious pleasure he had come down into the streets of Selefkia from the August Celestial Mansions. Seleukia-Ktesiphon Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard (C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savid


by C. P. Cavafy He’d been sitting in the café since ten-thirty expecting him to turn up any minute. Midnight had gone, and he was still waiting for him. It was now after one-thirty, and the café was almost deserted. He’d grown tired of reading newspapers mechanically. Of his three lonely shillings Only one was left: waiting that long, he’d spent the others on coffees and brandy. And he’s smoked all his cigarettes. So much waiting had worn him out. Because alone like that for so many hours, he’d also begun to have disturbing thoughts about the immoral life he was living. But when he saw his friend come in- weariness, boredom, thought all disappeared at once. His friend brought unexpected news. He’s won sixty pounds playing cards. Their good looks, their exquisite youthfulness, the sensitive love they shared were refreshed, livened, invigorated by the sixty pounds from the card table. Now all joy and vital

For Cavafy

by Bruce Williams The poems are sad and short: love half-remembered, history--beautiful, closed and Greek. But what I like best is the blank three-quarters page, white as a statue's marble eyes-- a space to write or cry. If you’d like to read poems by C. P. Cavafy, please go to this page I created.

“Che Fece .... Il Gran Rifiuto”

I am posting three translations of the poem which, to my ear, have different nuances, if not meanings. There is a difference between "undermines life ," " afflicts him night and day , " and "drags him down all his life." I wish I knew Greek. I included the Greek text. “Che Fece .... Il Gran Rifiuto”* by C. P. Cavafy For some among us there comes up a day when either the great Yea or the great Nay must needs be spoken. He who has the Yea ready within him, straightway stands revealed and, giving it utterance, passes to his field of self-expression. He who did not yield assent, never repents. If Nay or Yea were asked again, he would repeat his Nay, though that right word afflicts him night and day. Translated by John Cavafy (Poems by C. P. Cavafy. Translated, from the Greek, by J. C. Cavafy. Ikaros, 2003) __________________ For some people the day comes when they have to declare the great Yes or the great No. It’s clear at once who h

Θερμοπύλες / Thermopylae

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης Τιμή σ' εκείνους όπου στην ζωή των όρισαν και φυλάγουν Θερμοπύλες . Ποτέ από το χρέος μη κινούντες· δίκαιοι κ' ίσιοι σ' όλες των τες πράξεις, αλλά με λύπη κιόλας κ' ευσπλαχνία· γενναίοι οσάκις είναι πλούσιοι, κι όταν είναι πτωχοί, πάλ' εις μικρόν γενναίοι, πάλι συντρέχοντες όσο μπορούνε· πάντοτε την αλήθεια ομιλούντες, πλην χωρίς μίσος για τους ψευδομένους. Και περισσότερη τιμή τους πρέπει όταν προβλέπουν (και πολλοί προβλέπουν) πως ο Εφιάλτης θα φανεί στο τέλος, κ' οι Μήδοι επι τέλους θα διαβούνε. Thermopylae Constantine P. Cavafy (1903) Honor to those who in their lives have defined and guard their Thermopylae . Never stirring from duty; just and upright in all their deeds, yet with pity and compassion too; generous when they are rich, and when they are poor, again a little generous, again helping as much as they can; always speaking the truth, yet without hatred for those who lie. And more h


C.P. Cavafy With no consideration, no pity, no shame, they have built walls around me, thick and high. And now I sit here feeling hopeless. I can’t think of anything else: this fate gnaws my mind— because I had so much to do outside. When they were building the walls, how could I not have noticed! But I never heard the builders, not a sound. Imperceptibly they have closed me off from the outside world. Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992 If you’d like to read more poems by C. P. Cavafy, please go to this page I created.


C.P. Cavafy clipped from   If you’d like to read more poems by C. P. Cavafy, please go to this page I created.