Constantine P. Cavafy – Poems


Το συμπαθητικό του πρόσωπο, κομάτι ωχρό

τα καστανά του μάτια, σαν κομένα

είκοσι πέντ’ ετών, πλην μοιάζει μάλλον είκοσι

με κάτι καλλιτεχνικό στο ντύσιμο του,

τίποτε χρώμα της κραβάτας, σχήμα του κολλάρου,

ασκόπως περπατεί μες στην οδό

ακόμη σαν υπνωτισμένος απ’ την άνομη ηδονή

από την πολύ άνομη ηδονή που απέκτησε.


His likeable face, kind of pale;

his brown eyes, kind of sleepy;

twenty five years old, but he looks more like twenty;

with something artistic in his clothes,

a bit of color in his tie, the shape of his collar—

aimlessly he walks the streets,

as if still hypnotized by the questionable delight,

the carnal delight he has just enjoyed.

Yannis Ritsos – Poems, Selected Books, Volume II, Second Edition


As the tempest galloped from the suburbs to the city

clatter of horse-hooves was heard on the cobblestones.

            The conspirators

opened their nostrils wide for a great welcome,

for resistance, for a continuous battle. One of them

held a knife, seeking in all this clatter to share the bread,

in equal parts, in true justice. The tempest didn’t come;

only some big raindrops fell on the dusty sidewalk.

            Nothing else.

They experienced the humiliation of a futile preparation

           and at the end they saw  

that they didn’t have anything to share or say

and the man with the knife didn’t exist.