Monday, November 8, 2010

Candles by Cavafy for Senor Cuban ----

Because he shares my love of this most elegant poet. Like him, I would have loved to learn Greek so I could read it in the original. In fact, somewhere at home I have a recording of various plays and songs in Ancient Greek - or what they assumed ancient Greek sounded like. The magnificent Irene Papas chants a couple of the pieces but alas, no Cavafy. In this versions, Katia Dandoulaki recites and Alexandros Hatzis sings the poem of Constantine Cavafy "Candles".
Music: Yiannis Petritsis


The days of our future stand in front of us
like a row of little lit candles --
golden, warm, and lively little candles.

The days past remain behind us,
a mournful line of extinguished candles;
the ones nearest are still smoking,
cold candles, melted, and bent.

I do not want to look at them; their form saddens me,
and it saddens me to recall their first light.
I look ahead at my lit candles.

I do not want to turn back, lest I see and shudder
at how fast the dark line lengthens,
at how fast the extinguished candles multiply.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1899)

As a sequel from yesterday's post on contemplation, today's "As Time Goes By, " discusses one particular American version which has nothing to do with achievement, creativity or compassion but almost solely with acquisition to stuff.

1 comment:

A Cuban In London said...

Many years ago when I first saw the Cuban movie 'Fresa y Chocolate' (Strawberry and Chocolate) a very good friend of mine inroduced me to Cavafy, in Spanish, of course. And I remember him having this poem in his collection. As I approach my fortieth-minus-one birthday (oh, yes, there'll be a post about that, too, you bet), I cannot stop thinking about the candles that lie lit ahead of me. It doesn't matter in which language it's recited, it's probably one of the most beautiful poems ever written. I have no words with which to thank you for this birthday present (in advance!). Katia's voice is perfect for reading poems. Amazingly, she reminds me of the voice of a Spanish actress. :-)

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.