It Has Come to Rest The Canon
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It must have been one o’clock at night,
perhaps half past one.
 
                     In a corner of the taverna,
behind the wooden partition.
Save for the two of us the place was altogether deserted.
A kerosene lamp gave scarcely any light at all.
The waiter, exhausted, nodded off in the doorway.
 
No one could actually see us. But we’d
already provoked ourselves so thoroughly
that we were incapable of restraint.
 
Our clothing half-opened ― not much to begin with,
that month of July being so divinely sultry.
 
The delight of flesh by means
of half-opened clothing;
a glimpse of bared flesh ― an image enduring
twenty-six years; and which now has come
to rest here in these verses.

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