Body, Remember

Let’s have some more Cavafy, shall we? His words come across so excellently in English, one must wonder how beautiful they must be in their native Greek! It’s enough to make a gardener want to learn another language.

You’ll often find this as “Body, Remember” or “Remember, Body” depending on the translation, but I’m pretty sure the correct title is this one:

The Canon

Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not only the beds you lay on,
but also those desires that glowed openly
in eyes that looked at you,
trembled for you in the voices—
only some chance obstacle frustrated them.
Now that it’s all finally in the past,
it seems almost as if you gave yourself
to those desires too—how they glowed,
remember, in eyes that looked at you,
remember, body, how they trembled for you in those voices.

 

(Constantine P. Cavafy, trans. Aliki Barnstone)

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