Going Back Home from Greece Hidden
Print
Well, were nearly there, Hermippos.
Day after tomorrow, it seemsthats what the captain said.
At least were sailing our seas,
the waters of Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt,
the beloved waters of our home countries.
Why so silent? Ask your heart:
didnt you too feel happier
the farther we got from Greece?
Whats the point of fooling ourselves?
That would hardly be properly Greek. 
 
Its time we admitted the truth:
we are Greeks alsowhat else are we?
but with Asiatic affections and feelings,
affections and feelings
sometimes alien to Hellenism. 
 
It isnt right, Hermippos, for us philosophers
to be like some of our petty kings
(remember how we laughed at them
when they used to come to our lectures?)
who through their showy Hellenified exteriors,
Macedonian exteriors (naturally),
let a bit of Arabia peep out now and then,
a bit of Media they cant keep back.
And to what laughable lengths the fools went
trying to cover it up! 
 
No, thats not at all right for us.
For Greeks like us that kind of pettiness wont do.
We must not be ashamed
of the Syrian and Egyptian blood in our veins;
we should really honor it, take pride in it.


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)

- Original Greek Poem