Candles The Canon
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The days that are to come, they stand before us
like to a row of lighted little candles, —
brilliant, and warm, and lively little candles.
 
The other days, the by-gone, lag behind,
a mournful row of candles that are quenched:
a few of them, the nearest, smoulder still,
but most are cold, and crooked, and reduced.
 
I dread to look on these: their shape is grievous,
and grievous the remembrance of their light.
In front, my lighted candles I behold.
 
I dread to turn, lest I perceive, affrighted,
how fast the sombre row is lengthening,
how fast the extinguished candles multiply.

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

- Translation by Stratis Haviaras