The Polis

You said, "I'll go to another land; I'll go to another sea.
Another polis will be found and better than this.
My every effort writes a condemning sentence,
and my heart-like a corpse-entombed.
How long will my mind remain in this afflicted land?
Wherever I turn my eye, wherever I may look
the black ruins of my life are what I see here,
where so many years I passed and destroyed and ruined."

A new land you will not find, you will not find other seas.
This polis will follow you. The roads on which you'll walk
will be the same ones. And, in the same neighborhoods you will grow old,
and within the same houses you will gray.
Always to this polis will you arrive. For the other, do not hope.
There is no ship for you. There are no roads.
The way you have ravaged your life here
in this small corner, all over the world it has been ruined.

--C.P. Cavafy

Translated from the Greek by Anastasios Kozaitis