Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Ancient Voice: Constantine P. Cavafy


I have prepared a pot of jasmine tea and am about to continue reading the book Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990). This is the second book in the Alexandria Quartet and I am devouring it like I did with the first novel, Justine. While reading pages of it earlier today, I came across a name that I did not recognize; me, being the novice scholar, decided to find out just who and why this name was mentioned in the novel. The name was Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933) and he was a Greek poet and journalist who lived in Alexandria. From what I have read of his work thus far, he spoke with an ancient voice that still rings clear today.

Here is one of his poems entitled At the Cafe Door:

Something they said beside me
made me look toward the cafe door,
and I saw that lovely body which seemed
as though Eros in his mastery had fashioned it,
joyfully shaping its well formed limbs
molding its tall build,
shaping its face tenderly,
and leaving, with a touch of the fingers,
a particular nuance on the brow, the eyes, the lips.

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