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02 August 2014 @ 04:42 am
The God Abandons Antony  
The God Abandons 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 proved worthy of 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.


Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

(hat tip to elviaprose)
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grondfic: Eva Cristinagrondfic on August 2nd, 2014 12:07 pm (UTC)
It's a lovely piece, isn't it?

Do you know the Leonard Cohen song that he based on this poem? He's changed the emphasis a bit; but it complements the Cavafy pretty well I think.

There's a link here for the lyrics:
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leonardcohen/alexandraleaving.html

... and one for a performance of the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpnWC09oTuM
x_los: Cleopatra /Look/x_los on August 5th, 2014 04:56 pm (UTC)
I didn't know it before, though the friend who rec'd it did mention the Cohen! :) She was displeased about the 'Alexandra' change, and I think I agree.