Cavafy – again

I’ve offered Troppodillians several of Constantine Cavafy’s poems. They’re magnificent. I haven’t actually managed to elicit a comment on any of them, but perhaps they’re being enjoyed anyway. I’m told they’re of a different order in the original. But I wouldn’t know. Here’s one I read today – with a link which may help those who don’t know or can’t guess who the hell Ephialtes was:


Honour to those who in their lives are committed and guard their Thermopylae. Never stirring from duty; just and upright in all their deeds, but with pity and compassion too; generous whenever they are rich, and when they are poor, again a little generous, again helping as much as they are able; always speaking the truth, but without rancor for those who lie.

And they merit greater honor when they foresee (and many do foresee) that Ephialtes will finally appear, and in the end the Medes will go through.

Constantine P. Cavafy
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Ian Milliss
Ian Milliss
9 years ago

Bought a book of Cavafy’s poems over thirty years ago and have regularly dipped into it over the years. I think he is fantastic but I get the feeling he has slowly been falling back into comparative obscurity like that other great (but very different) Greek writer Nikos Kazanzakis.

9 years ago

Lawrence Durrell wrote highly of Cavafy’s work in his novel quadrilogy, “The Alexandria Quartet”. It told the same series of events as each seen by four participants. Like Cavafy, Durrell seems to have slipped from the recognised list.

john walker
john walker
9 years ago

reminded of
Kambei Shimada
“So. Again we are defeated. The farmers have won. Not us.
Once more, we have survived.”