The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

Beautiful Flowers and White That Became Him Well
By Constantine Cavafy
Translated by Rae Dalven

He walked into the cafe     where they used to go together. --
It was here that his friend     had told him three months before,
"We haven't a farthing.     We are two boys who are
completely penniless -- reduced     to the cheapest places.
I tell you this plainly,     I can no longer go
around with you. Someone else,     you must know, is asking for me."
This "someone else" had promised him     two suits of clothes and a few

handkerchiefs made of silk. --     To win him back once more
he moved heaven and earth,      and he found twenty pounds.
He went around with him again     because of the twenty poinds;
but also, along with these,     for their old friendship,
for the old love they felt,     for their very deep feeling. --
The "someone else" was a liar,     a regular guttersnipe;
he had only one suit of     clothes made for him, and
even that begrudgingly,     after a thousand pleas.

But now he no longer wants     either the suits of clothes,
or anything at all     of the handkerchiefs of silk,
or the twenty pounds,     or the twenty piasters.

On Sunday they buried him,     at ten in the morning.
On Sunday they buried him,     it is almost a week.

On his very cheap coffin,     he placed flowers,
beautiful flowers and white     that became him well,
that became his beauty and     his twenty-two years.

In the evening when he went --     on a job that came his way,
a need to earn his bread --     to the cafe where they
used to go together;     a knife in his heart,
was the desolate cafe     where they used to go together.


Son had his final chorus concert of the year Thursday evening, so I had to get a bunch of stuff done early in the day, and then my MSWord had a weird glitch and kept crashing when I tried to open .rtf seems to have recovered, knock wood, but I don't understand why I sometimes get random runtime errors with no explanation of exactly what the program was angry about! I wrote articles on Christie's plan for an auction of Star Trek memorabilia (Paramount once again having found a way to get rich off the fans, all while describing it as FOR the fans to celebrate the 40th anniversary) and John Billingsley's The Nine getting picked up...along with Jeri Ryan's Shark, Linda Park's Raines, the gaggle of Trek stars on Boston Legal and those who've made careers directing, a good upfront season for Star Trek actors. (Also a good one for a former J/C fan fiction writer who's now a seven-figure-salary executive producer in one of the biggest franchises around, I noticed!) I got the Q DVD set in the mail today, which makes me very happy...will have to review it, but other than "Encounter at Farpoint" that is a pleasure rather than a hardship! *g*

The chorus concert was great -- the mixed chorus did a Kyrie, a version of "Old King Cole," a bunch of spirituals with musicians from the community, and Mozart's "Un Moto di Gioja" from The Marriage of Figaro among other things, while the barbershop quartet did "Under the Boardwalk" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and the combined chorus sang a song by the very good looking media specialist who is pretty clearly a teacher by day, wannabe rock star by night. My in-laws came down from Pennsylvania and met us, and we drove my parents there, so we had a nice big family turnout though the overall turnout was rather low compared to the holiday concert, which is odd given that this chorus just took top honors at both the district and state chorus festivals. No John Lennon song this time (and no Paul McCartney, heh...there were rumors that Stella McCartney got Madonna to stub out a cigarette on Heather Mills' wooden foot at their wedding, I wonder how much his older children loathing her made it difficult for them to be married).

Chorus concert -- the treble chorus members are allowed to wear whatever they want, whereas the 7-8th grade chorus has to wear white and black, which is why those on the right are so colorful.

My other dorky fun for the day was discovering that Armageddon was on, setting up to record it and then leaving the TV on...I didn't really watch it, since I was picking the kids up from school and doing chores, but I caught scenes here and there. It's not a good movie, but it has many guilty of few roles in which I have ever really liked Ben Affleck, and I always like Liv Tyler, and Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton were so wonderful playing lovers outlaws together in Bandits that it's great fun to see them scowl in this one, and the ever-popular giant comet scenario ("I AM KIROK!") and Jason Isaacs as the smartest man in the world! I am allowed to love this movie, dammit.

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