I’ve Looked So Much… (after Cavafy)

C.P. Cavafy, “I’ve Looked So Much…”note below that “falling slightly over pale foreheads” and “figures of love” are directly from the Keeley/Sherrard translation. They’re good lines.

Absent realization,
I devoted myself
to the contemplation
of sensual form.

Painstaking exclusion
of the ugly, the ignoble,
the unworthy has made
my eyes, my ears, my mind –
the entire field of my vision –
nothing but beauty.

In everything I follow bodily
lines and curves to colored,
expressive lips to sensual,
sensuous limbs. As if everything
was a Greek statue, with that hair –
always lovely combed or not –
falling slightly over pale foreheads.
My poems desired such forms,
held them figures of love.
I wrote them nightly
for our secret encounters.

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