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An Old Man

C.P.Cavafy

 

At the noisy end of the café, head bent

over the table, an old man sits alone,

a newspaper in front of him.

 

And in the miserable banality of old age

he thinks how little he enjoyed the years

when he had strength, eloquence, and looks.

 

He knows he’s aged a lot: he sees it, feels it.

Yet it seems he was young just yesterday.

So brief an interval, so very brief.

 

And he thinks of Prudence, how it fooled him,

how he always believed—what madness—

that cheat who said: “Tomorrow. You have plenty of time.”

 

He remembers impulses bridled, the joy

he sacrificed. Every chance he lost

now mocks his senseless caution.

 

But so much thinking, so much remembering

makes the old man dizzy. He falls asleep,

his head resting on the café table. 

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