Tuesday, November 15

Not Just the Beds


ΘΥΜΗΣΟΥ, ΣΩΜΑ …

Σώμα, θυμήσου όχι μόνο τό πόσο αγπήθηκες,
όχι μονάχα τά κρεββάτια όπου πλάγιασες,
αλλά κ’εκείνες τις επιθυμίες πού γιά σένα
γυάλιζαν μές στά μάτια φανερά,
κ’ετρέμανε μές στήν φωνή—καί κάποιο
τυχαίον εμπόδιο τις ματαίωσε.
Τώρα πού είναι όλα πιά μέσα στό παρελθόν,
μοιάζει σχεδόν καί στίς επιθυμίες
εκείνες σάν νά δόθηκες—πώς γυάλιζαν,
θυμήσου, μές στά μάτια πού σέ κύτταζαν,
πώς έτρεμαν μές στήν φωνή, γιά σέ, θυμήσου, σώμα.

-Cavafy

Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not just the beds on which you lay,
But also the desires that shone for you in bright eyes,
And made the voice shake—though some unfortunate
obstacle frustrated them.
Now that it’s all in the past,
it’s as if you gave in to those desires—how they shone,
remember, in bright eyes that gazed at you,
how they made the voice shake, for you, remember, body.

(1918)

For those who are familiar with Cavafy’s work, this poem is a frequent favorite. It is certainly one of my personal favorites. I like it because it reminds me that the meaning of sex is often the most arousing part of sex; that is, being desired, even when those desires never make it into the bedroom, is sometimes enough. Sometimes it’s enough just to get cruised. It reminds one that he or she is desirable, and those desires validate us, in much the same way that sex itself can validate us and make us feel special and loved.

The above painting is another of Tsarouchis’ works, as promised. As far as I know, it was untitled, but I'd like to think of it as “Not Just the Beds.” Tsarouchis was almost certainly familiar with Cavafy’s poetry, and possibly his own artwork took inspiration from it. How could someone with homoerotic sensibilities as strong as Tsarouchis' not be inspired by Cavafy’s magic?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Chris said...

I've had this dog-earred for a long time. It has a blue tab, which is my "things to read when feeling shitty about myself" tab.
I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing the original text.

7:23 PM  

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