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(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cavafy - Half an Hour

An extraordinary Greek poet, who lived in Alexandria. He never got the recognition he deserved, because he was different (fitting in is all, neh?) and he was gay. At first it was foreigners who celebrated his genius: E M Forster, Lawrence Durrell (who though straight was gay-friendly -- his magnificent Alexandria Quartet has several gay characters), and others. Now, I'm glad to see, there is a website in Greece devoted to him.

His poems are so sad, and so wise. Like all of us, outsiders, he sees to the truth of things. He does not deceive himself. There is a crystal clear vision of life, of mankind, tempered by a loving forgiveness and tolerance. He was one of the great poets.

The poem's called Half an Hour.

I never had you, nor I suppose
will I ever have you.
A few words, an approach,as in the bar the other day—nothing more.
It’s sad, I admit. But we who serve Art,
sometimes with the mind’s intensity,
can create—but of course only for a short time—
pleasure that seems almost physical.
That’s how in the bar the other day—
mercifully helped by alcohol—
I had half an hour that was totally erotic.
And I think you understood this
and stayed slightly longer on purpose.
That was very necessary. Because
with all the imagination, with all the magic alcohol,
I needed to see your lips as well,
needed your body near me.

1 comment:

Victor J. Banis said...

Oh, I do so love Cafavy. I have an favorite book of his poems. I'm glad he's even a little better known today. When I started reading him, no one knew who I was talking about.