755. In the Harbor-Town, by Constantine Cavafy

Emis—young, twenty-eight—
reached this Syrian harbor in a Tenian ship,
his plan to learn the incense trade.
But ill during the voyage,
he died as soon as he was put ashore.
His burial, the poorest possible, took place here.
A few hours before dying he whispered something
about “home,” about “very old parents.”
But nobody knew who they were,
or what country he called home
in the great panhellenic world.
Better that way; because as it is,
though he lies buried in this harbor-town,
his parents will always have the hope he’s still alive.

(trans Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)

Source: Collected Poems