Sunday, 22 May 2011

Poem #3 The God Abandons Antony by CP Cavafy

So my poem of the month is The God Abandons Antony by CP Cavafy, I fell in love with this poem the second I heard it and it's easily in my top 10 favourite poems. Constantine Cavafy was Greek he lived in Alexandria in what was then the Ottoman Empire and briefly lived in Liverpool as a child. He died in 1933 at the age of 70. I recently found an old edition of Cavafy in a tiny bookshop in Camden and was chuffed with myself. The translation was slightly different to the one I was acquainted with, and it's the translation I know better that I am posting.

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

I think this poem is amazing, and it's really special to me.

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