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Cavafy in Liverpool

by Evan Jones

Here is your sad young man:
he is ship-to-shore, he is buttoned down
in tweed and scarved, eyes closed
when the Mersey wind

calls his collar to his ear
on the strand near Albert Dock,
some January, some winter day
we recognize but take no part in.

Here is your boy at the end of the shore
while the waters continue
touching place and nothing,
hold something dear and don’t,

the desire and devotion
to an island he never dreams.
Not summoned, not answered,
he searches the world growing dim

as the river swells and recedes
like closed eyelids shifting during sleep.
One less wave, he thinks, one less,
and then the Persians can get through.


Evan Jones was born in Toronto and now lives in Manchester, United Kingdom; he recently completed a PhD at the University of Manchester. His poems have appeared in PN Review, Poetry Review, and Poetry Wales. His first collection, Nothing Fell Today But Rain (Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside), was a finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Poetry. His second collection, Paralogues, is forthcoming from Carcanet, as is an anthology of Canadian poetry that he is co-editing. (4/2010)

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