Days of 1909, 10, and 11 The Canon
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He was the son of a harassed, poverty-stricken sailor
(from an island in the Aegean Sea).
He worked for a blacksmith: his clothes shabby,
his workshoes miserably torn,
his hands filthy with rust and oil.
 
In the evenings, after the shop closed,
if there was something he longed for especially,
a fairly expensive tie,
a tie for Sunday,
or if he saw and coveted
a beautiful blue shirt in some store window,
hed sell his body for a dollar or two.
 
I ask myself if the glorious Alexandria
of ancient times could boast of a boy
more exquisite, more perfectlost though he was:
that is, we dont have a statue or painting of him;
thrust into that awful blacksmiths shop,
overworked, tormented, given to cheap debauchery,
he was soon used up.

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