Constantine P. Cavafy

(29 April 1863 – 29 April 1933 / Alexandria)

Julian and the Antiochians


Neither the letter C, they say, nor the
letter K had ever harmed the city.... We,
finding interpreters... learned that these
are the initial letters of names, the first
of Christ and the second of Konstantios.

Julian, Misopogon (The Beard-Hater)


Was it conceivable that they would ever give up
their beautiful way of life, the range
of their daily pleasures, their brilliant theatre
which consummated a union between Art
and the erotic proclivities of the flesh?

Immoral to a degree—and probably more than a degree—
they certainly were. But they had the satisfaction that their life
was the notorious life of Antioch,
delectably sensual, in absolute good taste.

To give up all this, indeed, for what?

His hot air about the false gods,
his boring self-advertisement,
his childish fear of the theatre,
his graceless prudery, his ridiculous beard.

O certainly they preferred C,
certainly they preferred K—a hundred times over.

Submitted: Friday, March 23, 2012

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