For a great many people, in the past and in the present, it is hard to resist the thrill of war fever, the excitement of ‘seriousness,’ and the call of history—the romance of the iceberg even as it sinks the boat.
This room, how well I know it.
Now they’re renting it, and the one next to it,
as offices. The whole house has become
an office building for agents, merchants, companies.
This room, how familiar it is.
Here, near the door, was the couch,
a Turkish carpet in front of it.
Close by, the shelf with two yellow vases.
On the right—no, opposite—a wardrobe with a mirror.
In the middle the table where he wrote,
and the three big wicker chairs.
Beside the window was the bed
where we made love so many times.
They must still be around somewhere, those old things.
Beside the window was the bed;
the afternoon sun fell across half of it.
…One afternoon at four o’clock we separated
for a week only… And then—
that week became forever.
C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.