Sunday Poem


The sea took a sailor to its deep —
His mother, unsuspecting, goes to light

a tall candle before the Virgin Mary
for his speedy return and for fine weather —

and always she cocks here ear to windward.
But while she prays and implores,

the icon listens, solemn and sad, knowing well
that the son she expects will no longer return.

by Constantine Cavafy
A Book of Luminous Things
Houghton Mifflin, 1996