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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


In All, Greece, Poetry on March 9, 2013 at 9:55 am



“Cavafy stands at the boundary where poetry strips herself in order to become prose,” Seferis stated in a lecture in Athens in 1964. “He is the most anti-poetic (or a-poetic) poet I know.”

This is my favorite Cafavy poem.

Nero’s Term

Nero was not worried when he heard
the prophecy of the Delphic Oracle.
“Let him fear the seventy three years.”
He still had ample time to enjoy himself.
He is thirty. More than sufficient
is the term the god allots him
to prepare for future perils.

Now he will return to Rome slightly tired,
but delightfully tired from this journey,
full of days of enjoyment —
at the theaters, the gardens, the gymnasia…
evenings at cities of Achaia…
Ah the delight of nude bodies, above all…

Thus fared Nero. And in Spain Galba
secretly assembles and drills his army,the old man of seventy three.

H Διορία του Νέρωνος

Δεν ανησύχησεν ο Νέρων όταν άκουσε
του Δελφικού Μαντείου τον χρησμό.
«Τα εβδομήντα τρία χρόνια να φοβάται.»
Είχε καιρόν ακόμη να χαρεί.
Τριάντα χρονώ είναι. Πολύ αρκετή
είν’ η διορία που ο θεός τον δίδει
για να φροντίσει για τους μέλλοντας κινδύνους.

Τώρα στην Pώμη θα επιστρέψει κουρασμένος λίγο,
αλλά εξαίσια κουρασμένος από το ταξείδι αυτό,
που ήταν όλο μέρες απολαύσεως —
στα θέατρα, στους κήπους, στα γυμνάσια …
Των πόλεων της Aχαΐας εσπέρες …
A των γυμνών σωμάτων η ηδονή προ πάντων …

Aυτά ο Νέρων. Και στην Ισπανία ο Γάλβας
κρυφά το στράτευμά του συναθροίζει και το ασκεί,
ο γέροντας ο εβδομήντα τριώ χρονώ.

More poems by Constantine C. Cafavy, in english, can be found here.

An introduction to Cavafy by W.H.Auden can be found here.

The portrait of the poet belongs to the artist Mihalis Grigoreas and can be purchased here.


good psychiatrists & bad policemen.

In Greece, Poetry on February 18, 2013 at 8:41 am

Good psychiatrists & Bad cops.

Katerina Gogou* wrote:

They have all these ways
and everyday routine you get used to
they’ve made us dogs
ashamed of holiday
proud of unemployment
That’s how it is.
They are waiting for us at the corner
good psychiatrists and bad policemen.

In Greek:
Έχουν όλους τους τρόπους αυτοί
και την καθημερινότητα που συνηθίζεις
σκυλιά μας έχουν κάνει
να ντρεπόμαστε για την αργία
περήφανοι για την ανεργία
Έτσι είναι.
Μας περιμένουν στη γωνία
καλοί ψυχίατροι και κακοί αστυνόμοι.

(*A poetess who chose to live in the margin but loomed larger than life until the day she took her own life in 1993. She was then 53 years old.

 Born in 1940 in Athens she began as a mainstream actress but progressively morphed into an engagé literary figure committed to anarchy & the radical left. She wrote poems, lived off cigarettes, alcohol, pills & never minced words. 

Her first collection of poems, entitled “three clicks to the left” was published in 1978.)