[ilds] furniture scattered in disarray

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Thu Aug 13 14:04:31 PDT 2009

These poems make me realize that Cavafy already understood, Bruce.

The report on Alexandrian losses that you sent immediately brought it to 

So perishable. . . .



The Afternoon Sun
Translated by James Merrill
> This room, how well I know it. Now
> they’re renting it, it and the one next door,
> as offices. The whole house has been taken
> over by agents, businessmen, concerns.
> Ah but this one room, how familiar.
> Here by the door was the couch. In front of that,
> a Turkish carpet on the floor.
> The shelf then, with two yellow vases. On the right―
> no, opposite―a wardrobe with a mirror.
> At the center the table where he wrote,
> and the three big wicker chairs.
> There by the window stood the bed
> where we made love so many times.
> Poor things, they must be somewhere to this day.
> There by the window stood the bed: across it
> the afternoon sun used to reach halfway.
> ...We’d said goodbye one afternoon at four,
> for a week only. But alas,
> that week was to go on forevermore.


Translated by Walter Kaiser
> In a chest or wardrobe of precious ebony, I shall place and keep my 
> life’s clothing.
> The blue garments. And then the red ― these the most beautiful. And 
> afterwards the yellow. And finally the blue again, only much more 
> faded, these, than the first.
> I shall keep them with reverence and with great sorrow.
> When I come to put on black garments and live in a black house, in a 
> dark room, I shall sometimes open the wardrobe with joy, with longing, 
> with despair.
> I shall gaze on the garments, and I shall recall the great feast ― 
> which by then will be completely over.
> Completely over. The furniture scattered in disarray through the great 
> rooms. Broken plates and glasses on the floor. All of the candles 
> burnt down to their ends. All of the wine drunk. All of the guests 
> gone. Some who are tired will sit by themselves, all alone, like me, 
> in dark houses; others, even more tired, will have gone to bed. 

Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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