Thursday, 5 June 2014

The pawn - C.F. Cavafy

As I often watch people playing chess
my eye follows one Pawn
that little by little finds his way
and manages to reach the last line in time.
He goes to the edge with such eagerness
that you reckon here surely will start
his enjoyments and his rewards.
He finds many hardships on the way.
Marchers hurl slanted lances at him;
the fortresses strike at him with their wide
flanks; within two of their squares
speedy horsemen artfully
seek to stop him from advancing
and here and there in a cornering menace
a pawn emerges on his path
sent from the enemy camp.

But he is saved from all perils
and he manages to reach the last line in time

How triumphantly he gets there in time,
to the formidable last line;
how eagerly he approaches his own death!

For here the Pawn will perish
and all his pains were only for this.
He came to fall in the Hades of chess
to resurrect from the grave
the queen who will save us.

C.F. Cavafy (1863 – 1933) Greece (born Egypt)
Tranlated by Rae Dalven

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