First Step

TEDxKalamata 2015
2
Apr

The First Step -C.P Cavafy(The Canon)

The young poet Evmenis

complained one day to Theocritos:

“I have been writing for two years now

and I have composed just one idyll.

It’s my only completed work.

I see, sadly, that the ladder of Poetry

is tall, extremely tall;

and from this first step I now stand on

I will never climb any higher.”

Theocritos replied: “Words like that

are improper, blasphemous.

Just to be on the first step

should make you happy and proud.

To have come this far is no small achievement:

what you have done is a glorious thing.

Even this first step

is a long way above the ordinary world.

To stand on this step

you must be in your own right

a member of the city of ideas.

And it is a hard, unusual thing

to be enrolled as a citizen of that city.

Its councils are full of Legislators

no charlatan can fool.

To have come this far is no small achievement:

what you have done already is a glorious thing.”

 

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard