Prompt

As long as you live, be bright

Don’t be sorrowful;

Short is life

The end time requires.

 

(Seikilos epitaph-200BC)

 

Tant que tu vis, brille !

Ne t’afflige absolument de rien !

La vie ne dure guère.

Le temps exige son tribut.

 

The following is a transliteration of the original words of the Seikilos epitaph which are sung to the beautiful melody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUkabSGrK7I

Hoson zēs, phainou

Mēden holōs sy lypou;

Pros oligon esti to zēn

To telos ho chronos apaitei

 

“The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Ephesus (in today’s Turkey). The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100.

Also on the tombstone is an indication that states:

“I am a tombstone, an icon.

Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of

deathless remembrance”.

While older music with notation exists (for example the Delphic Hymns), all of it is in fragments; the Seikilos epitaph is unique in that it is a complete, though short, composition”.

Seikilos

Compass

I am walking barefoot on an endless white beach. Suddenly the water keeps rising and covers every piece of land. Now I am walking in the water. I can feel the sand with my feet but I cannot see it. I have to find my way out of the water. I have to swim. Which way did I come here? I have to remember.

I am walking barefoot in my sun filled apartment. Suddenly the walls of the rooms are disappearing. Now I am walking from room to room. I can feel the doors that I close behind me but I cannot see them. I have to close all the doors. I can start over. Which way did I come here? I have to remember.

I am walking barefoot in your charming eyes. Suddenly I am hearing a crying woman. Now I am walking among crying women. I can feel their feelings but I cannot see them. I have to find my way out of your eyes. I have to run. Which way did I come here? I have to remember.

Victoria

There was a house at the end of our street behind tall willow trees.
As a child I used to walk by that house every day on my way to school.
All I could ever see was an old lady dressed in black clothes,
cooking in her kitchen. Once I asked my mother “Are there witches?”.
“ No!” she said. “Now go get your father, our dinner is ready”.
At that time I was convinced that the old lady was a witch,
teaching magic to the young girl who was always standing besides her.
Why else was my mother so reluctant to talk about them?

After a long time I tried again: “Who lives at the house with the tall
willow trees?” “Victoria. Now don’t you have any homework to do?”,
was the reply I got that time. By then Victoria was a beautiful young lady
with long blond hair like her mother. All those years I had never seen her
outside of her kitchen. At times I thought that she must have had some kind
of strange disease. Why else was she never outside?

When I moved away from hometown I was still wondering about Victoria.
By that time I had convinced myself that Victoria must have been crazy.
She must have fallen in love with someone who betrayed her and lost her mind.
Her mother must have told her that she would not let her see anyone again.
Why else was she never outside all these years?

The last few times I walked by that house the kitchen was empty.
Victoria and her mother must have died.
Why else was nobody at the kitchen window?

ps/ The young girl was born out of wedlock. Her mother had tuberculosis
but she could not afford proper care at a hospital. She became her only caregiver.
When her mother died she moved to another town and was living with her aunt.

Image: http://robertgouldhistoricalartist.blogspot.com/

Refusal

Che fece …. il gran rifiuto

To certain people there comes a day

when they must say the great Yes or the great No.

He who has the Yes ready within him

immediately reveals himself, and saying it he follows

his honor and his own conviction.

He who refuses does not repent. Should he be asked again,

he would say no again. And yet that no — the right no —

crushes him for the rest of his life.

by Constantine P. Cavafy (1901)

Traslation: http://users.hol.gr/~barbanis/cavafy/rifiuto.html

 

 

 

 

Original poem in Greek:

Che fece …. il gran rifiuto

Σε μερικούς ανθρώπους έρχεται μια μέρα

που πρέπει το μεγάλο Ναι ή το μεγάλο το Οχι

να πούνε. Φανερώνεται αμέσως όποιος τόχει

έτοιμο μέσα του το Ναι, και λέγοντάς το πέρα

πηγαίνει στην τιμή και στην πεποίθησί του.

Ο αρνηθείς δεν μετανοιώνει. Αν ρωτιούνταν πάλι,

όχι θα ξαναέλεγε. Κι όμως τον καταβάλλει

εκείνο το όχι — το σωστό — εις όλην την ζωή του.

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης (1901)

Portrait

Portrait

Unconscious words

on your lips

Unfinished dreams wrapped

around your eyes

Unspoken tenderness confined

in your veins.

Sorrows relieved by dignity.

 

Intersection

Intersection

 

 

Walked the same path

Stared into each other’s eyes

Spoke the same words

Thought the same thoughts

Felt the same feelings

For an instant and

For eternity

Before we said

“Good bye”.

 

 

Palindromic

Palindromic

You will discover me

I will discover you

 

I will disappoint you

You will disappoint me

 

You will deny me

I will deny you

 

I will forget you

You will forget me

 

You will desire me

I will desire you

 

I will seek you out

You will seek me out

 

You will love me

I will love you

 

Endlessly

Triumph

Triumph

Pretend that you

Did not dance with

The Sirens

Did not feel

Those moments

Full of sorrow

Did not sink in

Absolute silence

As you are walking

Through these Symplegades

Triumphant

Rich in despair loot

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