John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Poet's Corner: The God Abandons Antony

The God Abandons Antony

When suddenly at the midnight hour
you hear the invisible troupe passing by
with sublime music, with voices —
don't futilely mourn your luck giving out, your work
collapsing, the designs of your life
that have all proved to be illusions.
As if long prepared, as if full of courage,
say good-bye to her, the Alexandria who is leaving.
Above all don't fool yourself, don't say it was
a dream, how your ears tricked you.
Don't stoop to such empty hopes.
As if long prepared, as if full of courage,
as is right for you who are worthy of such a city,
go stand tall by the window
and listen with feeling, but not
with the pleas and whining of a coward,
hear the voices — your last pleasure —
the exquisite instruments of that secret troupe,
and say good-bye to her, the Alexandria you are losing.

Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933)
trans. Aliki Barnstone and Willis Barnstone

Tags: poet's corner

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