Since Nine O’Clock
Half past twelve. Time has gone by quickly
since nine o’clock when I lit the lamp
and sat down here. I’ve been sitting without reading,
without speaking. Completely alone in the house,
whom could I talk to?
Since nine o’clock when I lit the lamp
the shade of my young body
has come to haunt me, to remind me
of shut scented rooms,
of past sensual pleasure—what daring pleasure.
And it’s also brought back to me
streets now unrecognizable,
bustling night clubs now closed,
theatres and cafés no longer there.
The shade of my young body
also brought back the things that make us sad:
family grief, separations,
the feelings of my own people, feelings
of the dead so little acknowledged.
Half past twelve. How the time has gone by.
Half past twelve. How the years have gone by.
(From: C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)
Cavafy has become one of my favorite poets. Occasionally, I’ll post a poem by him.