January 17th, 2011

Afore ye go!

 

                                                                         Odd Nerdrum
 

The City

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 like something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I 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 another country; another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You'll walk the same neighborhoods,
Will turn gray in these same houses.
You'll always end up in this city. Don't hope for things elsewhere:
There's no ship for you, there's no road.
Now that you've wasted your life here, in this small corner,
You've destroyed it everywhere in the world.


By Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933).
Translated from the Greek by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.