The Footsteps The Canon
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Eagles of coral
adorn the ebony bed
where Nero lies fast asleep
callous, peaceful, happy,
in the prime of his bodys strength,
in the fine vigor of youth.
 
But in the alabaster hall that holds
the ancient shrine of the Aenobarbi
how restless the household gods
they tremble, the little Lares,
and try to hide their insignificant bodies.
Theyve heard a terrible sound,
a deadly sound coming up the stairs,
iron footsteps that shake the staircase;
and now faint with fear, the miserable Lares
scramble to the back of the shrine,
shoving each other and stumbling,
one little god falling over another,
because they know what kind of sound that is,
know by now the footsteps of the Furies.

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

- Translation by John Cavafy