Supplication The Canon
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The sea has drawn a sailor into its abyss. —
His mother, unaware, but lest aught chance amiss,
 
goes forth and lights a taper at the candle-stand
of the Holy Mother, praying that soon he come to land; —
 
and ever to the wind she bends an anxious ear.
But while she prays, all tremulous through her love and fear,
 
the icon listens gravely and grieves to hear her yearn,
knowing she yearns for one that shall no more return.

Translated by John Cavafy

(Poems by C. P. Cavafy. Translated, from the Greek, by J. C. Cavafy. Ikaros, 2003)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard