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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Candles for your Birthday

Happy Birthday, Peter, I can't put candles on a cake, but I have found a birthday poem for you in Greek. A little meditative but true to life.

Κεριά

Του μέλλοντος η μέρες στέκοντ' εμπροστά μας
σα μια σειρά κεράκια αναμένα --
χρυσά, ζεστά, και ζωηρά κεράκια.

Η περασμένες μέρες πίσω μένουν,
μια θλιβερή γραμμή κεριών σβυσμένων·
τα πιο κοντά βγάζουν καπνόν ακόμη,
κρύα κεριά, λυωμένα, και κυρτά.

Δεν θέλω να τα βλέπω· με λυπεί η μορφή των,
και με λυπεί το πρώτο φως των να θυμούμαι.
Εμπρός κυττάζω τ' αναμμένα μου κεριά.

Δεν θέλω να γυρίσω να μη διώ και φρίξω
τι γρήγορα που η σκοτεινή γραμμή μακραίνει,
τι γρήγορα που τα σβηστά κεριά πληθαίνουν.

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης (1899)

Candles

The days of our future stand in front of us
like a row of little lit candles --
golden, warm, and lively little candles.

The days past remain behind us,
a mournful line of extinguished candles;
the ones nearest are still smoking,
cold candles, melted, and bent.

I do not want to look at them; their form saddens me,
and it saddens me to recall their first light.
I look ahead at my lit candles.

I do not want to turn back, lest I see and shudder
at how fast the dark line lengthens,
at how fast the extinguished candles multiply.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1899)

This poem made me think of John 1:9,

ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. TNIV

Look ahead at your lit candles and at the true light.

2 Comments:

At Mon May 26, 02:47:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thanks, Suzanne. What an honour to get a Greek poem from you and a Hebrew one from John. Actually my birthday isn't until Tuesday, 27th, but I am very happy to be so honoured already.

 
At Mon May 26, 06:11:00 PM, Blogger Kevin Sam said...

Happy birthday Peter!

 

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