Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not for timid bodies

In a room—empty, small, four walls only,
covered with green cloth—
a beautiful chandelier burns, all fire;
and in each of its flames a sensual fever,
a lascivious urge, glows with heat.

In the small room, radiantly lit
by the chandelier’s hot fire,
no ordinary light breaks out.
Not for timid bodies
the rapture of this heat.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

A few weeks ago I discovered some links from a vintage gold gilt chandelier. They were bright gold and just way too beautiful to be thrown away, they had this wonderful palmette decorative motif, so I put them inside the box for when the inspiration would be right. And a couple of days ago, I came across this poem by Cavafy, called 'Chandelier'. If you read Greek, here it is in the original:

Σε κάμαρη άδεια και μικρή, τέσσαρες τοίχοι μόνοι,
και σκεπασμένοι με ολοπράσινα πανιά,
καίει ένας πολυέλαιος ωραίος και κορώνει·
και μες στη φλόγα του την καθεμιά πυρώνει
μια λάγνη πάθησις, μια λάγνη ορμή.

Μες στην μικρή την κάμαρη, που λάμπει αναμένη
από του πολυελαίου την δυνατή φωτιά,
διόλου συνειθισμένο φως δεν είν’ αυτό που βγαίνει.
Γι’ άτολμα σώματα δεν είναι καμωμένη
αυτής της ζέστης η ηδονή.

(Από τα Ποιήματα 1897-1933, Ίκαρος 1984)

Then it suddenly struck me. I had the finished piece in front of me in a few seconds. And I got to work.

I think the result looks sultry and provocative, just like the poem is. I love how an architectural salvage, like this chandelier chain link, gives this piece its character and is then quietly complemented by the black brass chain and the black Czech glass bead. Its provocative element is thus even more stressed! 'Not for timid bodies' indeed...

What do you think?

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