Before time could change them

For A. F.

C. P. Cavafy

They were greatly saddened at their parting.
They didn’t want it: it was the circumstances.
The need for a livelihood forced one of them
to flee far – New York or Canada.
Their love certainly wasn’t its former self.
The allure had gradually waned,
the allure had waned gravely.
But to be separated: they didn’t want it.
It was the circumstances. – Or maybe Fate
had appeared as an artist to separate them now
before their ardour froze, before Time could change them:
each for the other will be as if he’d remained always
the twenty-four year old, the beautiful lad.

[Published 1924]

Original Greek Poem

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