I had recently been perusing Cavafy – particularly reading the essay on him written by that doyen of Dons, Maurice Bowra in his book, The Creative Experiment. Bowra, of whom it has been said, ” …..either the most distinguished or the most notorious Oxford don of the early twentieth century. Classicist, poet, wit, raconteur extraordinary, and Warden of Wadham College for over thirty years, he met nearly everyone of consequence in the worlds of literature and politics” He remarks of Cavafy’s abilility to find pathos in quite simple situations and quotes, The Melancholy of Jason poet in Kommagini, a.D. 595–
The aging of my body and my beauty
is a wound from a merciless knife.
I’m not resigned to it at all.
I turn to you, Art of Poetry,
Then having lost my copy of Four Greek Poets (Penguin Modern European Poets) read a lovely poem by Odesseus Eyletis https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/odysseus-elytis
THE MAD POMEGRANATE TREE
Inquisitive matinal high spirits
à perdre haleine
n these all-white courtyards where the south wind blows
Whistling through vaulted arcades, tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That leaps in the light, scattering its fruitful laughter
With windy wilfulness and whispering, tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That quivers with foliage newly born at dawn
Raising high its colors in a shiver of triumph?
On plains where the naked girls awake,
When they harvest clover with their light brown arms
Roaming round the borders of their dreams — tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree,
Unsuspecting, that puts the lights in their verdant baskets
That floods their names with the singing of birds — tell me
Is it the mad pomegranate tree that combats the cloudy skies of the world?
For the whole poem please see http://thestockholmshelf.com/2011/12/the-mad-pomegranate-tree-odysseus-elytis-aegean-surrealist/