Constantine Cavafy

Translating poetry is a hell of a job, but there are exceptionally good English translations of the Greek-language poems of the great C. P. Cavafy.  I always enjoy reading them: sensual, sardonic, jumping unexpectedly from Classical to Hellenistic to Byzantine times, always with an eye on the present.  My celebratory poem ends with an expression that was applied to Sappho.  Our illustration shows Cavafy in middle age; for a lovely line drawing, and more about the poet, see this link: 

Poets: C. P. Cavafy

Cavafy!  Half your melancholy,
your desire, would sink a trireme.
And if I never hear again
of langorous young limbs in sordid beds, it will be soon enough.

But who else travelled
so lovingly, so limpidly, through time?
No man sings
like the Egyptian singer.

Back to Top