Constantine P. Cavafy

Poetry Museum Presentation

Growing in Spirit

He who hopes to grow in spirit

will have to transcend obedience and respect.

He'll hold to some laws

but he'll mostly violate

both law and custom, and go beyond

the established, inadequate norm.

Sensual pleasures will have much to teach him.

He won't be afraid of the destructive act:

half the house will have to come down.

This way he'll grow virtuously into wisdom.

S - the author tells the story in a third person narrative

O - this was an observation of how people were around him at the time

A - there is no identified speaker, but it is aimed to be read by whomever comes across it

P - the purpose of this poem is for people to read and understand that for people to grow, they have to go outside of their comfort zone and break some walls down

S - the general topic of this poem is stating how people develop, and how they are introduced to new things

T - the tone of this poem is slightly serious, but is meant to be inspiring


Days to come stand in front of us,

like a row of burning candles -

golden, warm, and vivid candles.

Days past fall behind us,

a gloomy line of burnt-out candles;

the nearest are still smoking,

cold, melted, and bent.

I don't want to look at them: their shape saddens me,

and it saddens me to remember their original light.

I look ahead at my burning candles.

I don't want to turn, don't want to see, terrified,

how quickly that dark line gets longer,

how quickly one more dead candle joins another.

S - this poem is first person narrative, told by the author

O - this poem was written during Cavafy’s time in Alexandria while the city was being taken

A - poem is for anybody to read

P - look at the what the future has to bring, not the darkness of the days past

S - the idea of this poem is to inspire people to break down the wall and march on through

T - the tone is meant to be uplifting, to motivate people not to live in the past, and encourage them to move forward

Life Goes On - Camron Goldman

We could have done things


But we didn't

Excepting that is key

Looking forward not back

Breaking down the walls that contain us

Push on with what we have left.

Life goes by in the blink of an eye,

so don't waste any time.

Looking back only slows you down,

so only look to the future

Focus on the present, and imagine

where you wanna go.

Follow your dreams

Don't let people slow you down.

People who matter

Will push along by your side.

Life, Influences, and Writing style

- Constantine was born April 29, 1863 in Alexandria, Egypt

- growing up he wanted to a journalist or involved with politics

- His first published text was in a newspaper ("Constantinople") on January 3, 1886

- he lived in alexandria, and his family were forced to move to England

- eventually he would make it back to Alexandria, but then left after just less than five years due to local unrest

- his mother packed the families bags, and they sailed to Constantinople where they lived until Constantine's very early twenty's

- Eventually the family would settle back in Alexandria in September 1885, with the little ruins of the city that were left

- Constantine lived in Alexandria with his mother and two brothers

- throughout the city Constantine his brother Paul known as "the the homosexual cavafy"

- his other brother John was a famous English poet in Egypt

- at the age of 45, Cavafy was finally living on his own, and began to devout his life to poetry and no longer had much of a social life

- in 1932 he was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx

- he traveled to athens in hopes of curing his cancer, but the operation had no positive effects

- a few months later he traveled back to Alexandria where he died in hospital

- he never published any of his poems or writings in book form

- almost all of his poems were directly published in newspapers

- He died on April 29, 1933 in Alexandria, Egypt

- two big influences in his writing were Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde

- as a teenager he had his first "homosexual experience" which later turned into him writing sexually explicit poems about what he experienced

- World War I also played a big role in influencing his writting

- also the social norms that were changing in the 1900s

- also heavily influenced by the ancient Alexandrians that wrote about the obscure moments in the city's history

Work Cited

Constantine P. Cavafy Facts." N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 201

"Constantine P. Cavafy - Constantine P. Cavafy Biography - Poem Hunter." N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.

"Constantine P. Cavafy Poems (English)." Constantine P. Cavafy Poems (English). N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

"C.P. Cavafy - Biography." C.P. Cavafy - Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016."C. P.

Cavafy." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.

"Poems by Constantine P. Cavafy." N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.