Read Obra escogida by Constantinos P. Cavafis Free Online
Book Title: Obra escogida|
The author of the book: Constantinos P. Cavafis
Date of issue: 1995
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 954 KB
Read full description of the books Obra escogida:Great poems! A few that I liked a lot.
Ideal voices, the beloved voices
of those who have died or of those who are
lost to us as if they were dead.
Sometimes they speak to us in dreams;
sometimes, in thought, the mind hears them.
And with their sounds for a moment return
sounds from our life’s first poetry –
like music at night, far off, fading out."
The days of the future stand before us
like a line of burning candles –
golden candles, warm with life.
Behind them stand the days of our past,
a pitiful row of candles extinguished,
the nearest still sending up their smoke:
cold and melted, withered sticks.
I don’t want to look; their image makes me sad,
it saddens me to recall their kindling.
I look ahead at the ones still burning.
I don’t want to turn and see, with horror,
how quickly the line of shadow lengthens,
how quickly the number of snuffed candles grows."
The sea’s taken a sailor to her depths below –
his mother, still unaware, rushes to go
light a narrow candle before the Virgin’s shrine,
for his swift return, good weather, or a sign
that she struggles against the wind to hear.
But as she bows and reiterates her prayer,
the icon listens, sorrowful and glum,
quite sure that her son will never come."
"The Year 31 BC in Alexandria
From his small village on the city’s outskirts,
powdered in dust from the journey,
the peddler arrived. ‘Frankincense’ and ‘gum’,
‘the finest oil’ and ‘perfumes for your hair’
he cries through the streets. But amid the tumult,
the bands playing and the parades, he can’t be heard.
He is bumped, jostled by the crowds until,
totally confused, he asks, ‘What is this madness?’
Then someone tosses him the palace’s gigantic lie –
that Antony is victorious in Greece."
"Of Coloured Glass
I am quite touched by one detail
in the coronation, at Blachernai, of John Cantacuzenus
and Irene, daughter of Andronicus Asan.
Because they had only a few precious stones
(the poverty of our wretched kingdom being so great)
they wore artificial gems: hundreds of pieces made of glass,
red, green and blue. There is nothing
base or undignified, in my view,
about these little bits
of coloured glass. On the contrary, they seem
like a sorrowful protest
against the undeserved misfortunes of the crown.
They are the symbols of what should have been worn,
of what, assuredly, ought to have been worn
at the coronation of Lord John Cantacuzenus
and his Lady Irene, daughter of Andronicus Asan."
In the prologue of her Alexiad
Anna Comnena laments her widowhood.
Her soul is awhirl. ‘And with rivers of tears,’ she tells us,
‘I bathe my eyes… in sorrow for the tempests’ of her life,
‘sorrow for the insurrections’ she faced. The grief burns
‘in the very marrow of my bone, in the rending of my soul’.
But the truth is there was but one grief
that this ambitious lady ever knew;
only one profound regret did she feel,
this haughty Greek lady (even though she will not admit it):
she never managed, for all her cunning,
to take possession of the empire. She watched as it was taken,
snatched from her very hands, by the insolent John."
Nero was not particularly concerned when he heard
the Delphic oracle’s prophecy:
‘Years seventy and three beware.’
He still had plenty of time to enjoy himself.
He is only thirty. The deadline appointed
by the god seems far enough away
to take precautions about any future dangers.
He will return to Rome now a bit fatigued,
but fatigued in a delicious way from this journey
where every day provided some new delight –
in the Greek theatres, the gardens and gymnasia…
the evenings spent in the towns of Achaea…
and yes, above all, the joy of those naked bodies…
So much for Nero. Meanwhile, in Spain, Galba
secretly recruits and trains his forces,
an old man, aged seventy-three."
On an ebony bedstead
adorned with eagles made of coral,
Nero lies deep in sleep – quiet, unconscious, happy:
in the prime of his body’s vigour;
in the beautiful ardour of his youth.
But in the alabaster hall
that holds the ancient shrine of the Ahenobarbi,
the Lares of his house are anxious.
These minor household gods are trembling,
trying to conceal their already negligible bodies.
For they heard a terrible noise,
a deadly sound spiralling up the staircase,
iron-soled footsteps shaking the steps.
The miserable Lares, near-fainting now,
huddle in the corner of the shrine,
jostling and stumbling over each other,
one little god falling over the next,
for they knew what sort of noise it was;
they recognize, by now, the footsteps of the Furies."
Read information about the authorConstantine P. Cavafy (also known as Konstantin or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, or Kavaphes; Greek Κ.Π. Καβάφης) was a major Greek poet who worked as a journalist and civil servant. His consciously individual style earned him a place among the most important figures not only in Greek poetry, but in Western poetry as well. He has been called a skeptic and a neo-pagan. In his poetry he examines critically some aspects of Christianity, patriotism, and homosexuality, though he was not always comfortable with his role as a nonconformist. He published 154 poems; dozens more remained incomplete or in sketch form. His most important poetry was written after his fortieth birthday.
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