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)

“The City” - Constantine P. Cavafy

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 lies buried like something dead.
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 neighborhoods, turn gray 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.

Translated By Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

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

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.

The City | Constantine P. Cavafy

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 lies buried like something dead.
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 neighborhoods, turn gray 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.

Translated By 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)

He vows

Every so often he vows to start a better life.

But when night comes with her own counsels,

with her compromises, and with her promises;

but when night comes with her own power

of the body that wants and demands, he returns,

forlorn, to the same fatal joy.

Constantine P. Cavafy

Leonardo

May 2016

Santorini

instagram.com/likeavirginoh

Ithaka

by Constantine Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the journey is a long one, 
full of adventure, full of discovery. 
Laistrygonians and Cyclops, 
angry Poseidon - don’t be afraid of them: 
you’ll never find things like that on your way 
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, 
as long as a rare excitement 
stirs your spirit and your body. 
Laistrygonians and Cyclops, 
wild Poseidon - you won’t encounter them 
unless you bring them along inside your soul, 
unless your soul sets them up in front of you. 

Hope the voyage is a long one. 
May there be many a summer morning when, 
with what pleasure, what joy, 
you come into harbours seen 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 gather stores of knowledge from their scholars. 

Keep Ithaka always in your mind. 
Arriving there is what you are destined for. 
But do not hurry the journey at all. 
Better if it lasts for years, 
so you are old by the time you reach the island, 
wealthy with all you have gained on the way, 
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. 

Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey. 
Without her you would not have set out. 
She has nothing left to give you now. 

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. 
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, 
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Those things he only timidly imagined as a schoolboy
stand open now, revealed before him.
He goes to parties, stays out all night,
gets swept off his feet. And this is perfectly fitting (for our art, that is)
as his blood, young and hot,
is pleasure’s prize. Lawless, erotic ecstacy,
overcomes his body. And his young limbs
give in. In this way a simple youth
becomes worthy of our regard, and briefly he too
comes over to the Exalted World of Poetry—
this appealing boy with his blood young and hot.
—  Constantine P. Cavafy, “The Passage” 
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)

"The God Abandons Antony" - Constantine P. Cavafy

When abruptly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession pass by
with delightful music, and voices,
don’t grieve for your failing fortunes,
your spoiled deeds, the illusion of
your life’s plan; to mourn is useless.
Rather, with foreknowledge and boldness,
bid farewell to the departing Alexandria.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t claim
it was just a dream, that you heard a lie;
avoid all such futile notions.
As if long prepared, and ever courageous,
acting as one who deserves such a city,
make your way to the window,
and listen closely with your heart, not
with cowardly pleas and protests;
hear, as a last pleasure, those sounds,
the delightful music of the invisible procession,
and bid farewell to the Alexandria you are losing. 



Translated by Stratis Haviaras