From the School of the Renowned Philosopher

For two years he studied with Ammonios Sakkas,
but he was bored by both philosophy and Sakkas.

Then he went into politics.
But he gave that up. The Prefect was an idiot,
and those around him solemn, officious nitwits:
their Greek -poor fools- barbaric.

After that he became
vaguely curious about the Church: to be baptized
and pass as a Christian. But he soon
let that one drop: it would certainly have caused a row
with his parents, ostentatious pagans,
and right away they would have stopped-
something too horrible to contemplate-
their extremely generous allowance.

But he had to do something. He began to haunt
the corrupt houses of Alexandria,
every secret den of debauchery.

Here he was fortunate:
he'd been given an extremely handsome figure,
and he enjoyed the divine gift.

His looks would last
at least another ten years. And after that?
Maybe he'll go back to Sakkas.
Or if the old man has died meanwhile,
he'll find another philosopher or sophist:
there's always someone suitable around.

Or in the end he might possibly return
even to politics -commendably remembering
the traditions of his family,
duty toward the country,
and other resonant banalities of that kind.

Constantine P. Cavafy

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