Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The City

Translation from the Greek of Constantine P. Cavafy

You said: “I'll free to another land, free to another sea,
find another city, less foreign than this.
Yet each effort is registered as failure;
and my heart is—buried—like the dead.
How long will I stay in this morass?
Whatever I turn my head to see,
My life's black ruin only stares back at me,
for all the years here I've spent, ravaged and spoiled.”

New sites you will not find, you'll not find other seas.
The city will follow you always. You will turn
The same streets. And age in the same neighborhoods,
and go gray in these same threadbare homes.
Always you will reach the city. As for anywhere else—do not hope—
it does not have a boat for you, it does not have a road.
You've torn your life in this tiny corner;
the whole world has spoiled.