Constantine Cavafy

Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not only the beds on which you lay,
but also those desires for you
that glowed plainly in the eyes,
and trembled in the voice—and some
chance obstacle made futile.
Now that all of them belong to the past,
it almost seems as if you had yielded
to those desires—how they glowed,
remember, in the eyes gazing at you;
how they trembled in the voice, for you, remember, body.

– Constantine P Cavafy

– Translation by Aliki Barnstone

This is my favourite translation of my favourite poem, and the inspiration for my first manuscript. It belongs here as a lodestar on this blog documenting my journey as a writer who Tries to write from a bone deep place x
Rock Bublitz at body, remember
Back in the day …

7 thoughts on “Constantine Cavafy

  1. I think in terms of totems. I haven’t thought about having a lodestar.
    I like the ideas in this poem. Will have to study upon them. I feel they relate to something I can’t explain, yet my body registers and goes forth and I follow.

    1. When I first read Cavafy I felt like I was remembering something I already knew … I’m glad you like (so much to discover when you follow where your body leads!)

  2. so extremely refreshing to run into Cavafy (yesterday someone blogged about Yves Klein!) – so much out there now I don’t often run into those feasting on our forebears…Elytis, Cavafy, those Greeks from the first part of the 20th c – amazing

  3. “Here is the paradox: finding your own voice as a writer means – or is the equivalent of – feeling free in your own skin” A. Alvarez, from The Writer’s Voice

    1. Thanks muchly! I had carried this translation around in my wallet for some time before beginning to write – it is subtly and beautifully my favourite. Have updated the translation source accordingly.

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