Constantine P. Cavafy Poems
Manuel Comninos One dreary September day
Emperor Manuel Komninos
felt his death was near.
King Claudius My mind now moves to distant places.
I'm walking the streets of Elsinore,
through its squares, and I recall
The Mirror In The Hall The rich house had in the hall
An enormous mirror, very old;
Bought at least eighty years ago.
Things Ended Engulfed by fear and suspicion,
mind agitated, eyes alarmed,
we try desperately to invent ways out,
Since Nine O'clock 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,
Before The Statue Of Endymion I have come from Miletos to Latmos
on a white chariot drawn by four snow-white mules,
all their trappings silver.
Julian And The Antiochians <i>Neither the letter C, they say, nor the
letter K had ever harmed the city.... We,
finding interpreters... learned that these
A Great Procession Of Priests And Laymen A procession of priests and laymenâ??
each walk of life representedâ??
moves through streets, squares, and gates
Days Of 1896 He became completely degraded. His erotic tendency,
condemned and strictly forbidden
(but innate for all that) , was the cause of it:
In Despair He has lost him completely.Â Â Â Â Â And now he is seeking
on the lips ofÂ Â Â Â Â every new lover
the lips of his beloved;Â Â Â Â Â in the embrace
Far Off 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.
Come, O King Of The Lacedaimonians Kratisiklia didn't deign to allow
the people to see her weeping and grieving:
she walked in dignity and in silence.
Very Seldom He's an old man. Used up and bent,
crippled by time and indulgence,he slowly walks along the narrow street.
Lovely White Flowers 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,
The Windows In these dark chambers here what weary days
I spend, walk up and down as in a mazeTo find the windows.----Only to unclose
Of Dimitrios Sotir Everything he'd hoped for turned out wrong.
He'd seen himself doing great things,ending the humiliation that had kept his country down
Sculptor Of Tyana 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.
Hidden 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
Nero's Turn Nero was not worried when he heard
the prophecy of the Delphic Oracle."Let him fear the seventy three years."
Craftsmen Of Wine Bowls On this wine bowlâ??pure silver,
made for the house of Herakleidis,where good taste is the ruleâ??
Outside The House Walking yesterday in an outlying neighbourhood,
I went by the houseI used to go to when I was very young.
In The Boring Village 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,
September, 1903 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.
Morning Sea 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,
I've Looked So Much... I've looked on beauty so much
that my vision overflows with it.The body's lines. Red lips. Sensual limbs.
At The Theatre I got bored looking at the stage
and raised my eyes to the box circle.In one of the boxes I saw you
When They Come Alive Try to keep them, poet,
those erotic visions of yours,however few of them there are that can be stilled.
On Board Ship It's like him, of course,
this little pencil portrait.Hurriedly sketched, on the ship's deck,
Aemilianus Monae, Alexandrian, 628 - 655 A.d. With words, with countenance, and with manners
I shall build an excellent panoply;and in this way I shall face evil men
Unfaithfulness When Thetis and Peleus got married
Apollo stood up at the sumptuous wedding feastand blessed the bridal pair
Ithaca When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,full of adventure, full of instruction.
Greek From Ancient Times Antioch is proud of its splendid buildings,
its beautiful streets, the lovely countryside around it,its teeming population;
On Hearing Of Love 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.
Interruption We interrupt the work of the gods,
hasty and inexperienced beings of the moment.In the palaces of Eleusis and Phthia
The Twenty-fifth Year Of His Life He goes regularly to the taverna
where they'd met the previous month.He made inquiries, but they weren't able to tell him
Priest At The Serapeion My kind old father
whose love for me has always stayed the sameI mourn my kind old father
Waiting For The Barbarians What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
Two Young Men, 23 To 24 Years Old 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.
The Afternoon Sun 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
On The Outskirts Of Antioch We in Antioch were astonished when we heard
what Julian was up to now.
The Footsteps Eagles of coral
adorn the ebony bedwhere Nero lies fast asleep
On An Italian Shore Kimos, son of Menedoros, a young Greek-Italian,
devotes his life to amusing himself,like most young men in Greater Greece
Julian Seeing Contempt "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?
I Went I was not bound. I let myself go completely; went
To those indulgences, half actual,And half were turned about in my own brain;
Passing Through 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)
The Bandaged Shoulder 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.
Darius The poet Phernazis is composing
the important part of his epic poem.How Darius, son of Hystaspes,
Dimaratos His subject, 'The Character of Dimaratos',
which Porphyry proposed to him in conversationwas outlined by the young sophist as follows
Ionic 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.
Desires 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