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The god abandons Antony by Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933)

A great poem from Constantine P. Cavafy, also known as Konstantin or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, or Kavaphes (April 29, 1863–April 29, 1933).

Constantine was a major Greek poet who worked as a journalist and civil servant. He has been called a skeptic and a neo-pagan an 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.

This piece was an inspiration for the wonderful Leonard Cohen /Sharon Robinson, song Alexandra Leaving

Lenny live in Greece for some extended time and probably would have been very familiar with Cavafy’s work from there.

More info here:

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by suerdas


The god forsakes Antony

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.


– Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

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September 19, 2008 Posted by | Constantine P. Cavafy, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Robinson, _PHOTOGRAPHY, _POETRY | Leave a comment