Constantine P. Cavafy

Constantine P. Cavafy Poems

  • 101.  
    One dreary September day
    Emperor Manuel Komninos felt his death was near.
  • 102.  
    My mind now moves to distant places.
    I'm walking the streets of Elsinore, through its squares, and I recall
  • 103.  
    The rich house had in the hall
    An enormous mirror, very old; Bought at least eighty years ago.
  • 104.  
    Engulfed by fear and suspicion,
    mind agitated, eyes alarmed, we try desperately to invent ways out,
  • 105.  
    Half past twelve. Time has gone by quickly
    since nine o'clock when I lit the lamp and sat down here. I've been sitting without reading,
  • 106.  
    I have come from Miletos to Latmos
    on a white chariot drawn by four snow-white mules, all their trappings silver.
  • 107.  
    <i>Neither the letter C, they say, nor the
    letter K had ever harmed the city.... We, finding interpreters... learned that these
  • 108.  
    A procession of priests and laymenâ??
    each walk of life representedâ?? moves through streets, squares, and gates
  • 109.  
    He became completely degraded. His erotic tendency,
    condemned and strictly forbidden (but innate for all that) , was the cause of it:
  • 110.  
    He has lost him completely.     And now he is seeking
    on the lips of     every new lover the lips of his beloved;     in the embrace
  • 111.  
    I should like to relate this memory ...
    but it is so faded now ... scarecely anthing is left -- because it lies far off, in the years of my early manhood.
  • 112.  
    Kratisiklia didn't deign to allow
    the people to see her weeping and grieving: she walked in dignity and in silence.
  • 113.  
    He's an old man. Used up and bent,
    crippled by time and indulgence,he slowly walks along the narrow street.
  • 114.  
    He went inside the cafe where they used to sit together.
    It was here, three months ago, that his friend told him:'We're completely broke -so hard up, the two of us,
  • 115.  
    In these dark chambers here what weary days
    I spend, walk up and down as in a mazeTo find the windows.----Only to unclose
  • 116.  
    Everything he'd hoped for turned out wrong.
    He'd seen himself doing great things,ending the humiliation that had kept his country down
  • 117.  
    As you'll have heard, I'm no beginner.
    I've handled a lot of stone in my time,and in my own country, Tyana, I'm really quite famous.
  • 118.  
    From all I've done and all I've said
    let them not seek to find who I've been.An obstacle stood and transformed
  • 119.  
    Nero was not worried when he heard
    the prophecy of the Delphic Oracle."Let him fear the seventy three years."
  • 120.  
    On this wine bowlâ??pure silver,
    made for the house of Herakleidis,where good taste is the ruleâ??
  • 121.  
    Walking yesterday in an outlying neighbourhood,
    I went by the houseI used to go to when I was very young.
  • 122.  
    In the boring village where he worksâ??
    clerk in a textile shop, very youngâ??and where he's waiting out the two or three months ahead,
  • 123.  
    At least let me now deceive myself with illusions
    so as not to feel my empty life.And yet I came so close so many times.
  • 124.  
    Let me stop here. Let me, too, look at nature awhile.
    The brilliant blue of the morning sea, of the cloudless sky,the yellow shore; all lovely,
  • 125.  
    I've looked on beauty so much
    that my vision overflows with it.The body's lines. Red lips. Sensual limbs.
  • 126.  
    I got bored looking at the stage
    and raised my eyes to the box circle.In one of the boxes I saw you
  • 127.  
    Try to keep them, poet,
    those erotic visions of yours,however few of them there are that can be stilled.
  • 128.  
    It's like him, of course,
    this little pencil portrait.Hurriedly sketched, on the ship's deck,
  • 129.  
    With words, with countenance, and with manners
    I shall build an excellent panoply;and in this way I shall face evil men
  • 130.  
    When Thetis and Peleus got married
    Apollo stood up at the sumptuous wedding feastand blessed the bridal pair
  • 131.  
    When you set out for Ithaka
    ask that your way be long,full of adventure, full of instruction.
  • 132.  
    Antioch is proud of its splendid buildings,
    its beautiful streets, the lovely countryside around it,its teeming population;
  • 133.  
    On hearing about great love, respond, be moved
    like an aesthete. Only, fortunate as you've been,remember how much your imagination created for you.
  • 134.  
    We interrupt the work of the gods,
    hasty and inexperienced beings of the moment.In the palaces of Eleusis and Phthia
  • 135.  
    He goes regularly to the taverna
    where they'd met the previous month.He made inquiries, but they weren't able to tell him
  • 136.  
    My kind old father
    whose love for me has always stayed the sameI mourn my kind old father
  • 137.  
    What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

  • 138.  
    He'd been sitting in the cafe since ten-thirty
    expecting him to turn up any minute.Midnight had gone, and he was still waiting for him.
  • 139.  
    This room, how well I know it.
    Now they're renting it, and the one next to it,as offices. The whole house has become
  • 140.  
    We in Antioch were astonished when we heard
    what Julian was up to now.
  • 141.  
    Eagles of coral
    adorn the ebony bedwhere Nero lies fast asleep
  • 142.  
    Kimos, son of Menedoros, a young Greek-Italian,
    devotes his life to amusing himself,like most young men in Greater Greece
  • 143.  
    "Observing, then, that there is great contempt for the gods
    among us"â??he says in his solemn way.Contempt. But what did he expect?
  • 144.  
    I was not bound. I let myself go completely; went
    To those indulgences, half actual,And half were turned about in my own brain;
  • 145.  
    The things he timidly imagined as a schoolboy
    are openly revealed to him now. And he walks the streets,stays out all night, gets involved. And as is right (for our kind of art)
  • 146.  
    He said that he had hurt himself on a wall or that he had fallen.
    But there was probably another reasonfor the wounded and bandaged shoulder.
  • 147.  
    The poet Phernazis is composing
    the important part of his epic poem.How Darius, son of Hystaspes,
  • 148.  
    His subject, 'The Character of Dimaratos',
    which Porphyry proposed to him in conversationwas outlined by the young sophist as follows
  • 149.  
    That we've broken their statues,
    that we've driven them out of their temples,doesn't mean at all that the gods are dead.
  • 150.  
    Like beautiful bodies of the dead, who had not grown old
    and they shut them with tears, in a magnificent mausoleum,with roses at the head and jasmine at the feet --
Total 186 poems written by Constantine P. Cavafy

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