09 November 2009

C. P. Cavafy

[from C. P. Cavafy's The Unfinished Poems, translated by Daniel Mendelsohn, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009]

Antiochus the Cyzicene

The people of Syria put up with him:
as long as someone stronger doesn't come along.
And what is "Syria"? It barely comes to half;
what with the little kingdoms, with John Hyrcanus,
with the cities that are declaring their independence.

It seems the realm once began, the historians say,
at the Aegean and went right up to India.
From the Aegean right up to India! Patience.
Let's have a look at those puppets,
the animals he's brought us.


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