Forlorn

C. P. Cavafy

Wholly lost. And so now he seeks
in the lips of each new lover
the lips of the man; in union with every
new lover he seeks to deceive himself
that it is the same young man that he is prone to.

Wholly lost, as if he had never existed.
Because he wanted – said he – he wanted to be saved
from the disgraced, the diseased pleasure;
from disgraced – shame’s pleasure.
There was a chance yet – he said – to be saved.

Wholly lost, as if he had never existed.
In imagination, in illusions
in the lips of other lads his lips he seeks;
he tries to feel again that love of his.

[Written and published 1923]

Original Greek Poem