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As Long as You Can

by Constantine Cavafy

translated from the Greek by Theoharis C. Theoharis

And even if you cannot make your life what you want,
for as long as you can, at least
try to do this: do not trivialize it
in all the busy contacts of the world,
in all the swarm and gossip.

Do not trivialize it, hauling it,
roaming with it, always exposing it
to the pairings and relations
of everyday stupidity,
until it ends up irritating, stubborn as a beggar.


Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933) lived in Alexandria and is commonly considered the premier modern Greek poet. (1990)

Theoharis C. Theoharis is an associate professor in the literature faculty at the Massachsetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Joyce’s Ulysses: An Anatomy of the Soul (U. of North Carolina Press, 1988) and editor of a critical series forthcoming from Harvard University Press. (1990)

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