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Exiles Analysis

Author: poem of C.P. Cavafy Type: poem Views: 4

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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's suffered,

however much smaller it's become,

it's 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 of the few other Greeks

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 rhythm, what diction and harmony!

All enthusiasm, how we admired the Panopolitan.

So the days go by, and our stay here

isn't unpleasant because, naturally,

it's not going to last forever.

We've had good news: if something doesn't come

of what's now afoot in Smyrna,

then 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


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