The Twenty-Fifth Year of His Life The Canon
He goes regularly to the taverna
where they had first met the previous month.
He made inquiries, but they weren’t able to tell him anything.
From what they said, he gathered that the person he’d met there
was someone completely unknown,
one of the many unknown and shady young types
who dropped in there.
But he still goes to the taverna regularly, at night,
and sits there gazing toward the doorway,
gazing toward the doorway until he’s worn out.
Maybe he’ll walk in. Tonight maybe he’ll turn up.
He does this for nearly three weeks.
His mind is sick with longing.
The kisses are there on his mouth.
His flesh, all of it, suffers unremittingly from desire,
the feel of that other body is on his,
he wants to be joined with it again.
Of course he tries not to give himself away.
But sometimes he almost doesn’t care.
Besides, he knows what he’s exposing himself to,
he’s come to accept it. Quite possibly this life of his
will land him in a devastating scandal.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

- Original Greek Poem