The City

The City
by C.P. Cavafy
You said: “I’ll go to another country, to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried as though it were something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I happen to look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed
them totally.”
You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you. You will walk
the same streets, grow old in the same neighborhoods,
will turn gray in these same houses.
You will always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world.

0 thoughts on “The City

  1. This is very well done. Elegantly the second stanza overturns the first in as many lines, repeating the first line by adding “won’t find” and then going on to negate the rest with new imagery on down to “destroyed,” which puts a very broad cap on the self-destructive “you,” sealing it tight. We recognize this mentality and by the insights born of the poem’s rigorous formal construction realize how hard it is to break out of it.

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