◎ 卡瓦菲斯诗选 (48首) (阅读8060次)|
Salome on a golden salver bears
the head of John the Baptist
to the young Greek sophist
who's indifferent to love.
The youth replies: "Salome, it's your head
I wanted brought to me".
He means it as a joke.
But next day comes a messenger, a slave of hers,
who carries in the Lover's head with flaxen locks
upon a golden salver.
But the sophist in his studies
has forgotten yesterday's desire.
He sees the dripping blood and feels disgust.
He orders that this bloody thing
be taken from his sight, and goes on
reading Plato's dialogues.
Without consideration, without pity, without shame
they have built great and high walls around me.
And now I sit here and despair.
I think of nothing else: this fate gnaws at my mind;
for I had many things to do outside.
Ah why did I not pay attention when they were building the walls.
But I never heard any noise or sound of builders.
Imperceptibly they shut me from the outside world.
Written after reading the description of the painting Oedipus and the Sphinx by Gustav Moreau
The Sphinx has fallen on him
with her teeth and nails outstretched,
and all the savagery of life.
Oedipus collapsed beneath her first assault,
her first appearance terrifying him -
he'd never dreamt of such a form or
such a voice 'til then.
But though the monster rests
her paws upon his chest,
he quickly pulls himself together - and he
isn't frightened any more, because he's got
the answer ready, and will triumph.
Yet he takes no joy in victory.
His melancholy-laden gaze is not
upon the Sphinx, but far away, upon
the narrow road which leads to Thebes,
and which will finish at Colonus.
And in his mind a clear foreboding
that the Sphinx will speak to him again
with riddles that are vaster, and more
difficult, and answerless.
In the middle of the night my spirit's
paralysed, confused. Outside,
its life goes on outside it.
And it waits for the unlikely dawn.
And I deteriorate, and wait in boredom
with it or within it.
An Old Man
At the noisy end of the café, head bent
Over the table, an old man sits alone,
a newspaper in front of him.
And in the miserable banality of old age
he thinks how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength and eloquence and looks.
He knows he’s aged a lot; he sees it, feels it.
Yet it seemshe was young just yesterday.
So brief an interval, so very brief.
And he thinks of Prudence, how it fooled him,
how he always trusted her – what madness –
that cheat who said: "Tomorrow. You have plenty of time."
He remembers impulses bridled, the joy
he sacrificed. Each chance he lost
now mocks his senseless caution.
But so much thinking, so much remembering
makes the old man dizzy. He falls asleep,
his head resting on the café table.
A sailor has been taken by the ocean's depths. -
His mother, all unknowing, goes and lights
a candle to the Virgin
for his swift return and for good weather -
always keeping one ear to the wind.
But while she prays and supplicates,
the icon listens, serious and sorrowful,
knowing that the son she waits for won't return.
Death of a General
Death stretches out its hand
to touch a famous general's brow.
A paper breaks the news that evening.
People throng the sick man's home.
He's paralysed by pain,
his limbs and tongue. He glances round
and concentrates for hours upon familiar things.
Tranquil, he recalls old heroes.
From the outside - silence and quiescence cloak him.
Inside - he's been rotted by life's envies, cowardice,
voluptuous leprosy, by rage and foolish wilfulness, ill-will.
A heavy groan. - He's gone. - The voice of
every citizen laments: "His dying has destroyed
our nation! With him virtue died!"
Three sophists came to greet the Consul,
who addressed them with all courtesy,
and seated them beside him. But then
he jokingly advised them to take care: "Renown
breeds envy. Rivals are writing. You have enemies."
One of the trio answered seriously:
"Our present enemies will never harm us.
It's later that our enemies will come,
new sophists when we're senile, pitiful,
and some of us have entered Hades. Then our present
words and deeds will seem grotesque (perhaps
amusing), for our enemies will change sophistic
style and trends. Such as I and such as they
are similar, transforming what is past.
Whatever we've described as beautiful and right
they'll show to be superfluous and silly,
and will effortlessly say the same things differently.
Just as we repeated old words in a different way."
When the Watchman Saw the Light
Winter and summer, up on the Atreides' roof,
the Watchman has been sitting lookout.
Now he shouts glad tidings - he has seen
the lighting of a distant fire.
And he rejoices, for his labour's at an end;
it's hard to stand watch day and night,
in heat and cold, for flames on far-off
Arachnaion. Now the long-awaited signal has appeared.
Good fortune brings less joy than
was expected. Yet something's clearly
been achieved: we have been saved
from hopes and expectations. Many things
will happen to the house of Atreus -
that's a guess that needs no wisdom, now the
watchman's seen the light. So no exaggeration.
Good is the light, and those who come are good;
good, too, their words and deeds.
And we would wish that all be fair. But
Argos could survive without Atreides.
Royal houses aren't immortal.
Of course there'll be a lot of people
with a lot to say - and we should listen.
But we shan't be taken in by words like
`Indispensable', `Unique', or `Great'.
For someone indispensable, unique, and great
invariably turns up straightaway.
The Souls of Aged Men
Inside their worn, tattered bodies
Dwell the souls of old men.
How unhappy the poor things are
And how bored by the pathetic life they live.
How they tremble for fear of losing that life, and how much
They love it, those befuddled ad contradictory souls,
Sitting – half comis and half tragic –
Inside their old, threadbare skins.
Through these dark rooms, whose days
are weights, I wander to and fro
to find the windows. - Should a window open
it would offer some relief. -
But the windows don't exist, or I can't
find them. Better, maybe, if I don't.
Perhaps the light would prove another tyranny.
Who can tell what new things would emerge.
Honour to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do,
but showing pity also, and compassion;
generous when they're rich, and when they're poor,
still generous in small ways,
still helping as much as they can;
always speaking the truth,
yet without hating those who lie.
And even more honour is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that Ephialtis will turn up in the end,
that the Medes will break through after all.
Growing in Spirit
He who hopes to grow in spirit
will have to transcend obedience and respect.
He'll hold to some laws
but he'll mostly violate
both law and custom, and go beyond
the established, inadequate norm.
Sensual pleasures will have much to teach him.
He won't be afraid of the destructive act:
half the house will have to come down.
This way he'll grow virtuously into wisdom.
Like beautiful bodies which never grew old
tearfully sealed in a bright mausoleum,
at their heads roses and at their feet jasmine -
so look desires that grow cold unfulfilled,
forever denied even one night of pleasure,
or one of its light-filled mornings.
The Glory of the Ptolemies
I’m Lagides, king, absolute master
(through my power and wealth) of sensual pleasure.
There’s no Macedoniam, no barbarian, equal to me
Or even approaching me. The son of Selefkos
Is really a joke with his cheap lechery.
But if you’re looking for other things, not this too:
My city’s the greatest preceptor, queen of the Greek world,
Genius of all knowledge, of every art.
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that one on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
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 harbours 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 perfumes 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 marvellous 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.
Just because we have broken their statues,
just because we have driven them out of their temples,
the gods did not die because of this at all.
O Ionian land, it is you they still love,
it is you their souls still remember.
When an August morning dawns upon you
a vigor from their life moves through your air;
and at times an ethereal youthful figure,
indistinct, in rapid stride,
crosses over your hills.
Said Myrtias (a Syrian student
in Alexandria during the reign
of the Emperor Konstans and the Emperor Konstantios;
in part a heathen, in part chistianized):
“Strengthened by study and reflection.
I won’t fear my passions like a coward;
I’ll give my body to sensual pleasures,
to enjoyments I’ve dreamed of,
to the most audacious erotic desires,
to the lascivious impulses of my blood,
with no fear at all, because when I wish—
and I’ll have the will-power, strengthened
as I shall be by study and reflection—
when I wish, at critical moments I will recover
my spirit, ascetic as it was before.”
“The Rest I Will Tell to Those Down In Hades”
"Indeed," said the proconsul, closing the book,
"This line is beautiful and very true.
Sophocles wrote it in a deeply philosophic mood.
How much we'll tell down there, how much,
and how very different we'll appear.
What we protect here like sleepless guards,
wounds and secrets locked inside us,
protect with such great anxiety day after day,
we'll reveal freely and clearly down there."
"You might add," said the sophist, half smiling,
"if they talk about things like that down there,
if they bother about them at all any more."
What glory, this, for Herodis Attikos!
Alexander of Selefkia, one of our good sophists,
On reaching Athens to lecture
Finds the city deserted because Herodis
Was in the countryside. And al the young men
Had followed him there to hear him.
This makes sophist Allexander
Write Herodis a letter
Begging him to send the Greeks back.
And the tactful Herodis answers at once:
“Along with the Greeks, I’m coming to.”
How many young men now in Alexandria
In Antioch or in Beirut
(being trained by Hellenism as its future orators),
meeting at their choice banquets
where the talk is cometimes about fine sophistry,
sometimes about their exquisite love affairs,
are suddenly distracted and fall silent.
Their glasses untouched in front of them,
They think about Herodis’s good fortune—
What other sophist has been given this kind of honor?
Whatever his wish, whatever he does,
The Greeks (the Greeks!) follow him,
Not to criticize or debate,
Not even to choose any longer,
Only to follow.
Tomb of the Grammarian Lysias
In the Beirut library, jus to the right as you go in,
We buried wise Lysias, the grammarian.
The spot is beautifully chosen.
We put him near those things of his
That he remembers maybe even there:
Comments, texts, grammars, variants,
Voluminous studies of Greek idioms.
Also, this way, as we go to the books,
We’ll see, we’ll honor his tomb.
I did not restrain myself. I let go entirely and went.
To the pleasures that were half real
and half wheeling in my brain,
I went into the lit night.
And I drank of potent wines, such as
the valiant of voluptuousness drink.
Tomb of Evrion
In this tomb – ornately designed,
The whole of syenite stone,
Covered by so many violets, so many lilies—
Lies handsome Evrion,
An Alexandrian, twenty-five years old.
On his father’s side, he was of old Macedonian stock,
On his mother’s side, descended from a line of magistrates.
He studied philosophy with Aristolkeitos,
Rhetoric with Paros, and at Thebes
The sacred scriptures. He wrote a history
Of the province of Arsinotes. That at least will survive.
But we’ve lost what was really precious: his form—
Like a vision of Apollo.
But The Wise Perceive Things About To Happen
For the gods perceive things in the future,
ordinary people things in the present,
but the wise perceive things about to happen.
Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana, viii, 7
Ordinary mortals know what's happening now,
the gods know what the future holds
because they alone are totally enlightened.
Wise men are aware of future things
just about to happen.
Sometimes during moments of intense study
their hearing's troubled: the hidden sound
of things approaching reaches them,
and they listen reverently, while in the street outside
the people hear nothing whatsoever.
Let me stop here. Let me, too, look at nature awhile.
The brilliant blue of the morning sea, of the cloudless sky,
the shore yellow; all lovely,
all bathed in light
Let me stand here. And let me pretend I see all this
(I actually did see it for a minute when I first stopped)
and not my usual day-dreams here too,
my memories, those sensual images.
One dreary September day
Emporer Manual Komninos
Felt his death was near.
The court astrologers – bribed, of course – went on babbling
About how many years he still had to live.
But while they were having their say,
He remembered an old religious custom
And ordered ecclesiastical vestments
To be brought from a monastery,
And he put them on, glad to assume
The modest image of a priest or monk.
Happy all those who believe,
And like Emporer Manual end their lives
Dressed modestly in their faith.
The room was cheap and sordid,
Hidden above the suspect taverna.
From the window you could see the alley,
Dirty and narrow. From below
Came the voices of workmen
Playing cards, enjoying themselves.
And there on that common, humble bed
I had love’s body, had those intoxicating lips,
Red and sensual,
Red lips of such intoxication
That now as I write, after so many years,
In my lonely house, I’m drunk with passion again.
He swears every now and then to begin a better life.
But when night comes with its own counsel,
Its own compromises and prospects—
When night comes with its own power
Of a body that needs and demands,
He goes back, lost, to the same fatal pleasure.
In the Month Athyr
Hardly can I read on the ancient stone.
"Lo[r]d Jesus Christ". A "So[u]l" I discern.
"In the mo[nth] Athyr" "Leukiu[s] s[le]pt".
At the mention of the age "He li[ve]d years",
the Kappa Zeta* shows that young slept he.
Amidst the perished words I see "Hi[m] Alexandrean".
Afterwards three lines are there very mutilated;
but some words I drag - like "t[e]ars of ours", "grief",
then "tears" again, and "for [u]s the [f]riends sorrow".
It seems to me that Leukius great love behind him left.
In the month Athyr Leukius slept.
Tomb of Ignatios
Here I’m not the Kleon famous in Alexandria
(where they’re not easily dazzled)
for my marvelous houses, my gardens,
for my horses and chariots,
for the jewels and silks I wore.
Far from it – here I’m not that Kleon:
His twenty-eight years are to be wiped out.
I’m Ignatios, lector, who came to his sense very late;
But even so, in that way I lived ten happy months
In the peach, the security of Christ.
I’ve Looked So Much…
I’ve looked on beauty so much
that my vision overflows with it.
The body’s lines. Red lips. Sensual limbs.
Hair as though stolen from Greek statues,
always lovely, even uncombed,
and falling slightly over pale foreheads.
Figures of love, as my poetry desired them
…in the nights when I was young,
encountered secretly in those nights.
Nero was not worried when he heard
the prophecy of the Delphic Oracle.
"Let him fear the seventy three years."
He still had ample time to enjoy himself.
He is thirty. More than sufficient
is the term the god allots him
to prepare for future perils.
Now he will return to Rome slightly tired,
but delightfully tired from this journey,
full of days of enjoyment --
at the theaters, the gardens, the gymnasia...
evenings at cities of Achaia...
Ah the delight of nude bodies, above all...
Thus fared Nero. And in Spain Galba
secretly assembles and drills his army,
the old man of seventy three.
A young man, twenty eight years old, on a vessel from Tenos,
Emes arrived at this Syrian harbor
with the intention of learning the perfume trade.
But during the voyage he was taken ill. And as soon
as he disembarked, he died. His burial, the poorest,
took place here. A few hours before he died,
he whispered something about "home," about "very old parents."
But who these were nobody knew,
nor which his homeland in the vast panhellenic world.
Better so. For thus, although
he lies dead in this harbor,
his parents will always hope he is alive.
Outside the House
Walking yesterday in an outlying neighborhood,
I went by the house
I used to go to when I was very young.
There Eros with his magnificent power
Had taken hold of my body.
When I walked along the old road,
The shops, the sidewalks, the stones,
Walls and balconies and windows—
All were suddenly made beautiful by the spell of love:
And as I stood gazing at the door,
Stood there lingering outside the house,
My whole being radiated
The sensual emotion stored up inside me.
“…what should be cherished even more
is the sensual pleasure that is achieved morbidly, corruptingly—
it rarely finds the body able to feel what it requires—
that morbidly, corruptingly creates
an erotic intensity that a healthy disposition cannot generate….”
Extract from a letter
Written by young Imenos (from a patrician family)
Notorious in Syracuse for his debauchery
In the debauched time of Michael the Third.
Comes to Rest
It must have been one o'clock at night
or half past one.
A corner in a taverna,
behind the wooden partition:
except for the two of us the place completely empty.
A lamp barely gave it light.
The waiter was sleeping by the door.
No one could see us.
But anyway, we were already so worked up
we'd become incapable of caution.
Our clothes half opened - we weren't wearing much:
it was a beautiful hot July.
Delight of flesh between
quick baring of flesh - a vision
that has crossed twenty-six years
and now comes to rest in this poetry.
Those Who Fought for the Achaian League
Valiant are you who fought and fell gloriously;
fearless of those who were everywhere victorious.
Blameless, even if Diaeos and Critolaos were at fault.
When the Greeks want to boast,
"Our nation turns out such men" they will say
of you. And thus marvellous will be your praise. --
Written in Alexandria by an Achaean;
in the seventh year of Ptolemy Lathyrus.
In An Old Book
Forgotten between the leaves of an old book—
Almost a hundred years old—
I found an unsigned watercolor.
It must have been the work of a powerful artist.
Its title: “Representation of Love.”
“… Love of extreme sensualists” would have been more to the point.
Because it became clear as you looked at the work
(it was easy to see what the artist had in mind)
that the young man in the painting
was not designated for those
who love in ways that are more or less healthy,
inside the bounds of what is clearly permissible—
with his deep chestnut eyes,
the rare beauty of his face,
the beauty of anomalous charm,
with those ideal lips that bring
sensual delight to the body loved,
those ideal limbs shaped for beds
that common morality calls shameless.
Epitaph of Antiochos, King of Kommagini
After the funeral of the learned Antiochos, King of Kommagini,
Whose life had been restrained and gentle,
His sister, deeply afflicted,
Wanted an epitaph for him.
So, on the advice of Syrian courtiers,
The Ephesian sophist Kallistratos (who often resided
In the small state of Kommagini
And was a welcome and frequent guest
At the royal house)
Wrote an epitaph and sent it to the old lady.
“People of Kommagini, let the glory of Antiochos,
the beneficent king, be celebrated as it deserves.
He was a provident ruler of the country.
He was just, wise, courageous.
In addition he was that best of things, Hellenic—
Mankind has no quality more precious:
Everything beyond that belongs to the gods.”
Of Colored Glass
I am very moved by one detail
In the coronation at Vlachernai of John Kantakuzinos
And Irini, daughter of Andronikos Asan.
Bacause thay had only a few precious stones
(our afflicted empire was extreme poor)
they wore artificial ones: numerous pieces of glass,
red, green, or blue. I find
nothing humiliating or undignified
in those little pieces of colored glass.
On the contrary, they seem
A sad protest against
The unjust misfortune of the couple being crowned,
Symbols of what they deserve to have,
Of what surely it was right that they should have
At their coronation – a Lord John Kantakuzinos,
A Lady Irini, daughter of Andronikos Asan.
Priest at the Serapeum
My dear old father,
who always loved me the same;
my dear old father I lament
who died the day before yesterday, just before dawn.
Jesus Christ, it is my daily effort
to observe the precepts
of Thy most holy church in all my acts,
in all words, in all thoughts.
And all those who renounce Thee
I shun.-- But now I lament;
I bewail, Christ, for my father
although he was -- a horrible thing to say --
a priest at the accursed Serapeum.
Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old-
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek-
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.
The fever found him already worn out morally
by the pain of knowing that his friend, a young actor,
had stopped loving and wanting him.
He's seriously ill, and his parents are terribly worried.
An old servant who brought him up
is also full of fear for Kleitos' life;
and in her panic
she remembers an idol she used to worship
when she was young, before she came there as a maid,
to the house of distinguished Christians, and turned Christian herself.
She secretly brings some votive bread, some wine and honey,
and places them before the idol. She chants whatever phrases
she remembers from old prayers: odds and ends. The ninny
doesn't realize that the black demon couldn't care less
whether a Christian gets well or not.
In the golden bull that Alexios Comnenos issued
to prominently honor his mother,
the very sagacious Lady Anna Dalassené --
distinguished in her works, in her ways --
there are many words of praise:
here let us convey of them
a beautiful, noble phrase
"Those cold words 'mine' or 'yours' were never spoken."
Days of 1896
He'd become completely degraded. His erotic tendencies,
condemned and strictly forbidden
(but innate for all that) were the cause of it:
society was totally narrow-minded.
He'd gradually lost what little money he had,
then his social standing, then his reputation.
Nearly thirty, he'd never worked a full year-
at least not at a legitimate job.
Sometimes he earned enough to get by
acting the go-between in deals considered shameful.
He ended up the type likely to compromise you thoroughly
if you were seen around with him too often.
But this wasn't the whole story -that wouldn't be fair;
the memory of his beauty deserves better.
There is another angle; seen from that
he appears attractive, appears
a simple, genuine child of love,
without hesitation putting
the pure sensuality of his pure flesh
above his honour and reputation.
Above his reputation? But society,
totally narrow-minded, had all its values wrong.
Days Of 1901
The exceptional thing about him was
that in spite of all his debauchery,
his vast sexual experience
and the fact that usually
his attitude matched his age,
in spite of this there were moments-
extremely rare, of course- when he gave the impression
that his flesh was almost virginal.
His twenty-nine-year-old beauty,
so used by pleasure,
would sometimes strangely remind one
of a boy who, somewhat awkwardly, gives
his pure body to love for the first time.
He didn't know, King Kleomenis, he didn't dare-
he just didn't know how to tell his mother
a thing like that: Ptolemy's demand,
to guarantee their treaty, that she too go to Egypt
and be held there as a hostage-
a very humiliating, indecorous thing.
And he would be about to speak yet always hesitate,
would start to tell her yet always stop.
But the magnificent woman understood him
(she'd already heard some rumours about it)
and she encouraged him to get it out.
And she laughed, saying of course she'd go,
happy even that in her old age
she could be useful to Sparta still.
As for the humiliation -that didn't touch her at all.
Of course an upstart like the Lagid
couldn't possibly comprehend the Spartan spirit;
so his demand couldn't in fact humiliate
a Royal Lady like herself:
mother of a Spartan king.