It is our efforts that are pitiful.
It is our efforts that are like the Trojans.
Piece by piece we are achieving. Piece by piece
we take on more. And we begin
to find esteem and the highest of hopes.

But always something stops us.
Achilles in the foxhole before us
leaps out, shocks us with his war cries.

It is our efforts that are like the Trojans.
Audaciously with convictions and courage
we think we'll alter our hated luck
and outside we'll stand to battle.

But when the great crisis comes
we lose our courage and our resolutions.
Our tattered souls, paralyzed,
and all around the walls we'll run
begging to be saved in flight.

But our situation is serious. Above,
on the walls, the wailing has begun.
Our memories' mornings cry and commiserate.
Bitterly for us, Priam and Hecuba cry.

--C.P. Cavafy

Translated from the Greek by Anastasios Kozaitis