~ Poet: C. P. Cavafy ~

Θυμήσου, Σώμα… (Remember, Body…) by C. P. Cavafy

Body, remember not only how much you were loved
not only the beds you lay on.
but also those desires glowing openly
in eyes that looked at you,
trembling for you in voices—
only some chance obstacle frustrated them.
Now that it’s all finally in the past,
it seems almost as if you gave yourself
to those desires too—how they glowed,
remember, in eyes that looked at you,
remember, body, how they trembled for you in those voices.
translation by George Barbanis

Dancer/choreographer Konstantina Ntinapogia directs this collaborative “embodiment” of a poem by the great 20th-century Greek poet Cavafy. Since the English translation is not included in subtitles, only in the Vimeo description, viewers without Greek may, if they choose, rely on the choreography alone for meaning. And we’ve always been interested in dance as a medium for poetry here. Like poetry film itself, dance can be seen as a form of translation. Similarly, this could be seen as a music video, since the commission included an original composition based on the poem by artist(s) of the director’s choice. The band Ntinapogia chose to work with is called Lost Bodies. She notes:

As part of the 30 Days of Poetry project coordinated by choreographer Olga Spyraki, I was invited to dance and choreograph in collaboration with a musician of my choice. Our instructions were for the music to be original and made on a poem that we would bring together with the composer. This particular poem is by the famous Greek poet Konstantine P. Cavafy entitled “Thimisou, Soma…” that means “Remember, Body…” and my screen-dance is 1:37 minutes [long]. […]

How could this poem be embodied? How does body memory wake up? What is the color of passion? were some of my most basic questions. In this particular video-dance I worked not only as a dancer and choreographer but also as a director / cinematographer since I also dealt with the perspectives of the space, the use of the camera and I also did the editing. I am incredibly pleased with the process of research and composition.

Music: Lost Bodies
Song: “Thimisou, Soma…”
Dancer/Performer: Konstantina Ntinapogia
Camera: Marilena Dionysopoulou
Montaj: Konstantina Ntinapogia, Ioannis Makropoulos

Body, remember (Θυμήσου, Σώμα) by C. P. Cavafy

A gorgeous film from 2003 by the London-based animation artist Katerina Athanasopoulou, with an English translation of a poem by Cavafy (Kavafis) in the soundtrack. Click through to Vimeo for additional credits and a list of selected screenings.

Ithaka by C. P. Cavafy


A video by VIV G (Vivian Giourousis), using a reading from YouTube by Charles Bryant.

Compare with the interpretations of the poem shared here three years ago, the first in the original Greek from a movie-length biopic. (The second one is pretty god-awful, but a good example of a very common approach to poetry film. I was a little less picky about what I posted in the early days of this site.)

Ithaca by C. P. Cavafy

Poem by C. P. Cavafy (Kavafis)

From the 1996 film Kavafis, directed by Yannis Smaragdis

An English translation of the poem read by Sean Connery, and illustrated by cliched images in a video by babylonianman