Kavafis' poem on 'Jason Kleander'

John Bjarne Grover

The theory is that this poem by Konstantin Kavafis could have been chosen to have a function for a 21st century like Hitler's postcard had it for the 20th. Which would mean that it could be read as imbued with massive cues about future political intrigue - cp. such a construction as 'Ja-sor Clinton' which could be about a 'giant wound' = 'Eugene Paisseau' on the J-shaped Italy, like Hitler's postcard seemed to claim responsibility for the murder of Lenin in 1924. My view is that the poem could be indexing Venice with the region San Trovaso = San Gervasio et San Protasio, whether that be interesting or not. Here is the poem in greek - source Kokkines: 'Anthologia neoellenikes poieses', Athens 2004, although the ambiguous spelling of 'phrikto' could be a printing error:

My own fragile translation is concerned with making the best out of it, and I have made some observations on it at the end of the file kavafis.htm.

Melancholie des Jason Kleander, Dichter in Kommagene, 595 n.Chr.

Das hohe Alter meines Körpers, meiner Seele,
ist Wunde des erstaunlichen Glücks-Messer.
Ich komme nicht Resignation darin.
Zu dir ich wende mich, du Kunst der Dichtung,
wo grad' du wisset von den Heilmitteln,
des Tief-Schlafs schmerzliche Entzückung
          in Fantasie und in dem logischen Verstand.

's ist Wunder des erstaunlichen Glücks-Messer.
Die Heilmittel bringen zu dir, du Kunst der Dichtung,
wo kommen sie - gleich - Wunder wie Verständliches zu machen.

© John Bjarne Grover
On the web 15 March 2011