Sunday, December 30, 2007

And I Lounged And Lay On Their Beds By C.P. Cavafy

When I went to that house of pleasure
I didn’t stay in the front rooms where they celebrate,
with some decorum, the accepted modes of love.

I went into the secret rooms
and lounged and lay on their beds.

I went into the secret rooms
considered shameful even to name.
But not shameful to me—because if they were,
what kind of poet, what kind of artist would I be?
I’d rather be an ascetic. That would be more in keeping,
much more in keeping with my poetry,
than for me to find pleasure in the commonplace rooms.

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)

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