The City The Canon
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You said: “I shall go to some other land, I shall go to some other sea.
Another city there must be, better than this.
My every effort here is a sentence of condemnation against me,
and my heart —like a corpse— lies buried.
How long shall my mind remain smothered in this blight?
Wherever I turn my eye, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life
where I spent and spoiled and ruined so many years.”
 
Fresh lands you shall not find, you shall not find other seas.
The city shall ever follow you.
In streets you shall wander that are the same streets and
      grow old in quarters that are the same
and among these very same houses you shall turn grey.
You shall always be returning to the city.   Hope not;
there is no ship to take you to other lands, there is no road.
You have so spoiled your life here in this tiny corner
that you have ruined it in all the world.

Translated by George Valassopoulo

(The Nation & The Athenaeum 35/6, 5.4.1924)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

- Translation by John Cavafy

- Translation by Stratis Haviaras