Picture of a 23-year-old

11. Picture of a 23-year-old

Constantine P. Cavafy

Picture of a 23-year-old Painted by his Friend of the same Age, an Amateur

He finished the picture yesterday noon.
Now he looks at it detail by detail.
He’s painted him wearing an unbuttoned grey jacket,
no vest, tieless,
with a rose-coloured shirt,
open, allowing a glimpse
of his beautiful chest and neck.
The right side of his forehead is almost covered by hair,
his lovely hair
(done in the style he’s recently adopted).
He’s managed to capture perfectly
the sensual note he wanted
when he did the eyes, the lips…
that mouth of his, those lips
so ready to satisfy a special kind of erotic pleasure.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1928)

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrand