Constantine P. Cavafy

3

Try to keep them, poet,
those erotic visions of yours,
however few of them there are that can be stilled.
Put them, half-hidden, in your lines.
Try to hold them, poet,
when they come alive in your mind
at night or in the noonday brightness.

When They Come Alive / Constantine P. Cavafy

(dedicated to @heliasdoulis)

Loved, idealized voices
of those who have died, or of those
lost for us like the dead.

Sometimes they speak to us in dreams;
sometimes deep in thought the mind hears them.

And, with their sound, for a moment return
sounds from our life’s first poetry —
like distant music fading away at night.
—  Constantine P. Cavafy, Voices, 1889, Trans. Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

GRYFFINDOR: “Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion? … Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come. And some of our men who have just returned from the border say there are no barbarians any longer. Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians? Those people were ak ind of solution.” -Constantine P Cavafy (Waiting for the Barbarians)

Return

Return often and take me,

beloved sensation, return and take me – 

when the memory of the body awakens, 

and an old desire runs again through the blood;

when the lips and the skin remember,

and the hands feel as if they touch again. 

Return often and take me at night,

when the lips and the skin remember …

- Constantine P. Cavafy

Happy Valentine’s Day :)

Return- Constantine P. Cavafy

Return often and take me,

beloved sensation, return and take me --

when the memory of the body awakens,

and an old desire runs again through the blood;

when the lips and the skin remember,

and the hands feel as if they touch again.


Return often and take me at night,

when the lips and the skin remember....
youtube

Diamanda, Tanrıça edasıyla başka bi’ Yunan'ın aşk şiirine büyü yapıyor. erkeğin erkeğe olan aşkı. tehlikeli bi’ aşk, kabul edilmeyen. Sappho'dan beri şiirde yaşanan eşcinsel aşk…
ve videonun devamında Gloomy Sunday.

He lost him completely. And he now tries to find
his lips in the lips of each new lover,
he tries in the union with each new lover
to convince himself that it’s the same young man,
that it’s to him he gives himself.

He lost him completely, as though he never existed.
He wanted, his lover said, to save himself
from the tainted, unhealthy form of sexual pleasure,
the tainted, shameful form of sexual pleasure.
There was still time, he said, to save himself.

He lost him completely, as though he never existed.
Through fantasy, through hallucination,
he tries to find his lips in the lips of other young men,
he longs to feel his kind of love once more.

The City

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore, 
find another city better than this one. 
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart—like something dead—lies buried. 
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look, 
I see the black ruins of my life, here, 
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore. 
This city will always pursue you. 
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighbourhoods, turn grey in these same houses. 
You’ll always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere: 
there’s no ship for you, there’s no road. 
Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner, 
you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world. 

– constantine p. cavafy (trans. daniel mendelsohn)

Constantine P. Cavafy: Che fece … il gran rifiuto (The Great Refusal)

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης: Che fece … il gran rifiuto (Η Μεγάλη Άρνηση)
For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great Yes
or the great No. It’s clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it,

he goes forward in honour and self-assurance.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he would still say no. Yet that no – the right no –
undermines him all his life.

When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

—  Constantine P. Cavafy’s Ithaca

When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon–do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon–you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy–
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

—  Constantine P. Cavafy, “Ithaka”
As much as you can

And if you can’t shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.

Try not to degrade it by dragging it along,
taking it around and exposing it so often
to the daily silliness
of social events and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on. 

–Constantine P. Cavafy
Ithaca

When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy

ÍTACA

Cuando te encuentres de camino a Ítaca,
desea que sea largo el camino,
lleno de aventuras, lleno de conocimientos.
A los Lestrigones y a los Cíclopes,
al enojado Poseidón no temas,
tales en tu camino nunca encontrarás,
si mantienes tu pensamiento elevado, y selecta
emoción tu espíritu y tu cuerpo tienta.
A los Lestrigones y a los Cíclopes,
al fiero Poseidón no encontrarás,
si no los llevas dentro de tu alma,
si tu alma no los coloca ante ti.

Desea que sea largo el camino.
Que sean muchas las mañanas estivales
en que con qué alegría, con qué gozo
arribes a puertos nunca antes vistos,
deténte en los emporios fenicios,
y adquiere mercancías preciosas,
nácares y corales, ámbar y ébano,
y perfumes sensuales de todo tipo,
cuántos más perfumes sensuales puedas,
ve a ciudades de Egipto, a muchas,
aprende y aprende de los instruidos.

Ten siempre en tu mente a Ítaca.
La llegada allí es tu destino.
Pero no apresures tu viaje en absoluto.
Mejor que dure muchos años,
y ya anciano recales en la isla,
rico con cuanto ganaste en el camino,
sin esperar que te dé riquezas Ítaca.

Ítaca te dio el bello viaje.
Sin ella no habrías emprendido el camino.
Pero no tiene más que darte.

Y si pobre la encuentras, Ítaca no te engañó.
Así sabio como te hiciste, con tanta experiencia,
comprenderás ya qué significan las Ítacas.

Constantino P. Cavafis

In these dark rooms where I live out empty days,
I wander round and round
trying to find the windows.
It will be a great relief when a window opens.
But the windows aren’t there to be found -
or at least I can’t find them. And perhaps
it’s better if I don’t find them.
Perhaps the light will prove another tyranny.
Who knows what new things it will expose?
—  Constantine P. Cavafy, The Windows
Ionian

Because we smashed their statues,
because we threw them out of their temples,
in no way means their gods are dead.
O Ionian land, the gods still love you,
their souls still remember you.
When an August morning dawns over you,
an energy from the gods’ lives crosses through your atmosphere;
and sometimes an ethereal adolescent form,
indistinct, with a quick stride,
crosses above your hills.

– constantine p. cavafy (trans. aliki barnstone)

Ithaca

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon – do not fear them: You will never find such as these on your path, if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body. The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops, the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter, if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when, with such pleasure, with such joy you will enter ports seen for the first time; stop at Phoenician markets, and purchase fine merchandise, mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony, and sensual perfumes of all kinds, as many sensual perfumes as you can; visit many Egyptian cities, to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal. But do not hurry the voyage at all. It is better to let it last for many years; and to anchor at the island when you are old, rich with all you have gained on the way, not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage. Without her you would have never set out on the road. She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you. Wise as you have become, with so much experience, you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

—  Constantine P. Cavafy