Poetry Dispatch No. 224 | April, 2008
INTERNATIONAL POETRY DAY
An Old Man By Constantine P. Cavafy
At the noisy end of the café, head bent
over the table, an old man sits alone,
a newspaper in front of him.
And in the miserable banality of old age
he thinks how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, and wit, and looks.
He knows he’s very old now: sees it, feels it.
Yet it seems he was young just yesterday.
The time’s gone by so quickly, gone by so quickly.
And he thinks how Discretion fooled him,
how he always believed, so stupidly
that cheat who said: “Tomorrow. You have plenty of time.”
He remembers impulses bridled, the joy
he sacrificed. Every chance he lost
now mocks his brainless prudence.
But so much thinking, so much remembering
makes the old man dizzy. He falls asleep,
his head resting on the café table.
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