Candles The Canon
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Days yet to come stretch out before us
like a row of candles, burning brightly ―
vivacious candles, golden and warm.
 
The days that have passed fall behind us,
burned-out candles in a dismal row:
those closest at hand still smoking;
cold candles, melted and deformed.
 
I don’t want to look; their state saddens me;
it saddens me to remember their initial glow.
I look ahead, instead, to my lighted candles.
 
I don’t want to turn back to see, with horror,
how quickly the dark row of candles has lengthened,
how rapidly the number of dead candles has grown.

Translated by Stratis Haviaras

(C.P. Cavafy, The Canon. Translated from the Greek by Stratis Haviaras, Hermes Publishing, 2004)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

- Translation by John Cavafy