Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

CreationEarth Nature Photos

Best Famous Constantine P Cavafy Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Constantine P Cavafy poems. This is a select list of the best famous Constantine P Cavafy poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Constantine P Cavafy poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Constantine P Cavafy poems.

Search for the best famous Constantine P Cavafy poems, articles about Constantine P Cavafy poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Constantine P Cavafy poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also:

Famous poems below this ad
Written by Constantine P Cavafy |


 As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops, angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them: you'll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops, wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure, what joy, you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind- as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

Morning Sea

 Let me stop here.
Let me, too, look at nature awhile.
The brilliant blue of the morning sea, of the cloudless sky, the yellow shore; all lovely, all bathed in light.
Let me stand here.
And let me pretend I see all this (I really did see it for a minute when I first stopped) and not my usual day-dreams here too, my memories, those images of sensual pleasure.
by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

Half An Hour

 I never had you, nor will I ever have you
I suppose.
A few words, an approach as in the bar yesterday, and nothing more.
It is, undeniably, a pity.
But we who serve Art sometimes with intensity of mind, and of course only for a short while, we create pleasure which almost seems real.
So in the bar the day before yesterday -- the merciful alcohol was also helping much -- I had a perfectly erotic half-hour.
And it seems to me that you understood, and stayed somewhat longer on purpose.
This was very necessary.
Because for all the imagination and the wizard alcohol, I needed to see your lips as well, I needed to have your body close.

More great poems below...

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

Very Seldom

 He's an old man.
Used up and bent, crippled by time and indulgence, he slowly walks along the narrow street.
But when he goes inside his house to hide the shambles of his old age, his mind turns to the share in youth that still belongs to him.
His verse is now recited by young men.
His visions come before their lively eyes.
Their healthy sensual minds, their shapely taut bodies stir to his perception of the beautiful.
by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

In 200 B.C.

 "Alexander son of Philip, and the Greeks except the Lacedaemonians--"

We can very well imagine
that they were utterly indifferent in Sparta
to this inscription.
"Except the Lacedaemonians", but naturally.
The Spartans were not to be led and ordered about as precious servants.
Besides a panhellenic campaign without a Spartan king as a leader would not have appeared very important.
O, of course "except the Lacedaemonians.
" This too is a stand.
Thus, except the Lacedaemonians at Granicus; and then at Issus; and in the final battle, where the formidable army was swept away that the Persians had massed at Arbela: which had set out from Arbela for victory, and was swept away.
And out of the remarkable panhellenic campaign, victorious, brilliant, celebrated, glorious as no other had ever been glorified, the incomparable: we emerged; a great new Greek world.
We; the Alexandrians, the Antiocheans, the Seleucians, and the numerous rest of the Greeks of Egypt and Syria, and of Media, and Persia, and the many others.
With our extensive territories, with the varied action of thoughtful adaptations.
And the Common Greek Language we carried to the heart of Bactria, to the Indians.
As if we were to talk of Lacedaemonians now!

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |


 It goes on being Alexandria still.
Just walk a bit along the straight road that ends at the Hippodrome and you'll see palaces and monuments that will amaze you.
Whatever war-damage it's suffered, however much smaller it's become, it's still a wonderful city.
And then, what with excursions and books and various kinds of study, time does go by.
In the evenings we meet on the sea front, the five of us (all, naturally, under fictitious names) and some of the few other Greeks still left in the city.
Sometimes we discuss church affairs (the people here seem to lean toward Rome) and sometimes literature.
The other day we read some lines by Nonnos: what imagery, what rhythm, what diction and harmony! All enthusiasm, how we admired the Panopolitan.
So the days go by, and our stay here isn't unpleasant because, naturally, it's not going to last forever.
We've had good news: if something doesn't come of what's now afoot in Smyrna, then in April our friends are sure to move from Epiros, so one way or another, our plans are definitely working out, and we'll easily overthrow Basil.
And when we do, at last our turn will come.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

They Should Have Provided

 I have almost been reduced to a homeless pauper.
This fatal city, Antioch, has consumed all my money; this fatal city with its expensive life.
But I am young and in excellent health.
My command of Greek is superb (I know all there is about Aristotle, Plato; orators, poets, you name it.
) I have an idea of military affairs, and have friends among the mercenary chiefs.
I am on the inside of administration as well.
Last year I spent six months in Alexandria; I have some knowledge (and this is useful) of affairs there: intentions of the Malefactor, and villainies, et cetera.
Therefore I believe that I am fully qualified to serve this country, my beloved homeland Syria.
In whatever capacity they place me I shall strive to be useful to the country.
This is my intent.
Then again, if they thwart me with their methods -- we know those able people: need we talk about it now? if they thwart me, I am not to blame.
First, I shall apply to Zabinas, and if this moron does not appreciate me, I shall go to his rival Grypos.
And if this idiot does not hire me, I shall go straight to Hyrcanos.
One of the three will want me however.
And my conscience is not troubled about not worrying about my choice.
All three harm Syria equally.
But, a ruined man, why is it my fault.
Wretched man, I am trying to make ends meet.
The almighty gods should have provided and created a fourth, good man.
Gladly would I have joined him.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

Anna Comnena

 In the prologue to her Alexiad,
Anna Comnena laments her widowhood.
Her soul is dizzy.
"And with rivers of tears," she tells us "I wet my eyes.
Alas for the waves" in her life, "alas for the revolts.
" Pain burns her "to the the bones and the marrow and the cleaving of the soul.
" But it seems the truth is, that this ambitious woman knew only one great sorrow; she only had one deep longing (though she does not admit it) this haughty Greek woman, that she was never able, despite all her dexterity, to acquire the Kingship; but it was taken almost out of her hands by the insolent John.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

The City

 WHAT domination of what darkness dies this hour,
And through what new, rejoicing, winged, ethereal power
O’erthrown, the cells opened, the heart released from fear?
Gay twilight and grave twilight pass.
The stars appear O’er the prodigious, smouldering, dusky, city flare.
The hanging gardens of Babylon were not more fair Than these blue flickering glades, where childhood in its glee Re-echoes with fresh voice the heaven-lit ecstasy.
Yon girl whirls like an eastern dervish.
Her dance is No less a god-intoxicated dance than his, Though all unknowing the arcane fire that lights her feet, What motions of what starry tribes her limbs repeat.
I, too, firesmitten, cannot linger: I know there lies Open somewhere this hour a gate to Paradise, Its blazing battlements with watchers thronged, O where? I know not, but my flame-winged feet shall lead me there.
O, hurry, hurry, unknown shepherd of desires, And with thy flock of bright imperishable fires Pen me within the starry fold, ere the night falls And I am left alone below immutable walls.
Or am I there already, and is it Paradise To look on mortal things with an immortal’s eyes? Above the misty brilliance the streets assume A night-dilated blue magnificence of gloom Like many-templed Nineveh tower beyond tower; And I am hurried on in this immortal hour.
Mine eyes beget new majesties: my spirit greets The trams, the high-built glittering galleons of the streets That float through twilight rivers from galaxies of light.
Nay, in the Fount of Days they rise, they take their flight, And wend to the great deep, the Holy Sepulchre.
Those dark misshapen folk to be made lovely there Hurry with me, not all ignoble as we seem, Lured by some inexpressible and gorgeous dream.
The earth melts in my blood.
The air that I inhale Is like enchanted wine poured from the Holy Grail.
What was that glimmer then? Was it the flash of wings As through the blinded mart rode on the King of Kings? O stay, departing glory, stay with us but a day, And burning seraphim shall leap from out our clay, And plumed and crested hosts shall shine where men have been, Heaven hold no lordlier court than earth at College Green.
Ah, no, the wizardy is over; the magic flame That might have melted all in beauty fades as it came.
The stars are far and faint and strange.
The night draws down.
Exiled from light, forlorn, I walk in Dublin Town.
Yet had I might to lift the veil, the will to dare, The fiery rushing chariots of the Lord are there, The whirlwind path, the blazing gates, the trumpets blown, The halls of heaven, the majesty of throne by throne, Enraptured faces, hands uplifted, welcome sung By the thronged gods, tall, golden-coloured, joyful, young.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |


 Like beautiful bodies of the dead who had not grown old
and they shut them, with tears, in a magnificent mausoleum,
with roses at the head and jasmine at the feet --
this is what desires resemble that have passed
without fulfillment; with none of them having achieved
a night of sensual delight, or a bright morning.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

Since Nine OClock

 Half past twelve.
Time has gone by quickly since nine o'clock when I lit the lamp and sat down here.
I've been sitting without reading, without speaking.
Completely alone in the house, whom could I talk to? Since nine o'clock when I lit the lamp the shade of my young body has come to haunt me, to remind me of shut scented rooms, of past sensual pleasure - what daring pleasure.
And it's also brought back to me streets now unrecognizable, bustling night clubs now closed, theatres and cafes no longer here.
The shade of my young body also brought back the things that make us sad: family grief, separations, the feelings of my own people, feelings of the dead so little acknowledged.
Half past twelve.
How the time has gone by.
Half past twelve.
How the years have gone by.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |


 Amid fear and suspicions,
with agitated mind and frightened eyes,
we melt and plan how to act
to avoid the certain
danger that so horribly threatens us.
And yet we err, this was not in our paths; the messages were false (or we did not hear, or fully understand them).
Another catastrophe, one we never imagined, sudden, precipitous, falls upon us, and unprepared -- there is no more time -- carries us off.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |


 We interrupt the work of the gods,
hasty and inexperienced beings of the moment.
In the palaces of Eleusis and Phthia Demeter and Thetis start good works amid high flames and dense smoke.
But always Metaneira rushes from the king's chambers, disheveled and scared, and always Peleus is fearful and interferes.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |

He Vows

 Every so often he vows to start a better life.
But when night comes with her own counsels, with her compromises, and with her promises; but when night comes with her own power of the body that wants and demands, he returns, forlorn, to the same fatal joy.

Written by Constantine P Cavafy |


 From all I've done and all I've said
let them not seek to find who I've been.
An obstacle stood and transformed my acts and way of my life.
An obstacle stood and stopped me many a time as I was going to speak.
My most unobserved acts, and my writitings the most covered -- thence only they will feel me.
But mayhaps it is not worth to spend this much care and this much effort to know me.
For -- in the more perfect society -- someone else like me created will certainly appear and freely act.