Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Small Pencil Likeness

As if in answer to yesterday’s post, Notes Out of Time, came this poem from the Greek poet Cavafy—here talking about a sketch of someone loved and gone rather than a handwritten message from him.

Appropriately elegiac.  And I remember my father, too, on one enchanting afternoon on the deck of a ship.  But in the Pacific Ocean that was, beyond the San Juan Islands, rather than in the Ionian Sea.  On the little Sea Bird, during the last year of his life.

Aboard the Ship

It certainly resembles him, this small
pencil likeness of him.

Quickly done, on the deck of the ship:
an enchanting afternoon.
The Ionian Sea all around us.

It resembles him. Still, I remember him as handsomer.
To the point of illness: that's how sensitive he was,
and it illumined his expression.
Handsomer, he seems to me,
now that my soul recalls him, out of Time.

Out of Time. All these things, they're very old—
the sketch, and the ship, and the afternoon.

—C. P. Cavafy

image:  Photo Lovers


  1. that is simply beautiful.
    you can feel it. the best kind of poetry.
    i had read about a translucent quality that dying people have. i found it to be true. when my husband died. it's a different kind of beauty. of handsomeness.

  2. It is a wonderful poem. And so interesting about the translucence of death.