Exiles Hidden
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It goes on being Alexandria still. Just walk a bit
along the straight road that ends at the Hippodrome
and you’ll see palaces and monuments that will amaze you.
Whatever war-damage it has suffered,
however much smaller it has become,
it is still a wonderful city.
And then, what with excursions and books
and various kinds of study, time does go by.
In the evenings we meet on the sea front,
the five of us (all, naturally, under fictitious names)
and some other Greeks of the few still left in the city.
Sometimes we discuss church affairs
(the people here seem to lean toward Rome)
and sometimes literature.
The other day we read some lines by Nonnos:
what imagery, what diction, what rhythm and harmony!
All enthusiasm, how we admired the Panopolitan.
So the days go by, and our stay here
is not unpleasant because, naturally,
it is not going to last forever.
We’ve had good news: either something
is now afoot in Smyrna, or
in April our friends are sure to move from Epiros.
So one way or another, our plans are definitely working out,
and we’ll easily overthrow Basil.
And when we do, at last our turn will come.

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