Translated from the Greek by Theoharis C. Theoharis
And even if you cannot make your life what you want,
for as long as you can, at least
try to do this: do not trivialize it
in all the busy contacts of the world,
in all the swarm and gossip.
Do not trivialize it, hauling it,
roaming with it, always exposing it
to the pairings and relations
of everyday stupidity,
until it ends up irritating, stubborn as a beggar.
Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933) lived in Alexandria and is commonly considered the premier modern Greek poet.