January 20, 2008


What I like most about Cavafy
is that he can't stop moralizing.

Growing old he sees he also grows
warmer to the barbarian in himself,
the Persian among Greeks,
the would-be voluptuary.

He spends days in cafes
by the sea,
drinking ouzel and wondering
if the whole world is destined to
become as small and seedy
as Alexandria.

The bodies of young men excite him.
He watches them from
his Garden of Missed Opportunities
until it resembles Gesthsemene
where he turns part Christian,
almost anti-Hellene

while the Greek in him
continues to weep
at the tomb of Patroklos,
insisting there is a grace in us
more magnificent than the god
it reflects.

—Paul Pines

Posted by dwaber at January 20, 2008 03:39 PM