C. P. Cavafy
He entered the coffee shop where they used to go together. –
Here his friend three months ago had told him,
‘We are broke. We are two poor
boys – reduced to the cheap dives.
I’m telling you straight, I can’t go out
with you. Another man, listen, wants me.’
The other man had promised him two suits, and some
silk handkerchiefs – To reclaim him,
he rent the world, and found twenty pounds.
He returned to him for the twenty pounds;
but also, besides that, for the old friendship,
for the old love, for the deep feeling between them. –
The ‘other man’ was a liar, a good-for-nothing;
a single suit had he made him, and
even that reluctantly, after a thousand pleas.
But now he wants neither the suits,
nor the silk handkerchiefs at all,
nor twenty pounds, nor twenty pence.
On Sunday they buried him, at ten in the morning.
On Sunday they buried him: it’s almost a week now.
In his meagre coffin he put flowers for him,
lovely and white flowers that well fitted
his beauty and his twenty-two years.
When in the evening he went – he had an errand,
a pressing task – to the coffee shop where
they used to go together: a knife to his heart
the black coffee shop where they used to go together.