Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Past red

for a critic
at the exhib-
ition, and
for visitors

  And don't presume you knew the man       you wronged
  so very well. He surely had virtues       you were unaware of;
  nor perhaps are those deep wounds the     ones
  that you imagine (out of ignorance of     his life)
  to be the dreadful blows that came       from you

  Don't count on your feeble memory.
  Temper your remorse, which is always
  so one-sidedly against you, it's           casuistry.

              An obstacle was there and it distorted
              my actions and the way I lived my life.
              An obstacle was there and it stopped me
              on many occasions when I was going to speak.

  But perhaps it's not worth
  so much care and trouble on
    puzzling me out.
  Afterwards - in some more
    perfect society -
  someone else who's fashioned
    like me
  will surely appear and be free
    to do as he pleases.

C.P. Cavafy
  i Remorse
  1925, unfinished
  ii - iii Hidden
  1908, unpublished
Daniel Mendelsohn
  editor and translator
C.P. Cavafy
  The Unfinished Poems
    The First English Translation
op. cit.

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