English poetry

Poems in English

The First Step

The First Step

The young poet Evmenis
Complained one day to Theocritus:
“I’ve been writing for two years now
And I’ve composed only one idyll.
It’s my single completed work.
I see, sadly, that the ladder
Of Poetry is tall, extremely tall;
And from this first step I’m standing on now
I’ll never climb any higher.”
Theocritus retorted: “Words like that
Are improper, blasphemous.
Just to be on the first step
Should make you happy and proud.
To have reached this point is no small achievement:
What you’ve done already is a wonderful 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’s 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 reached this point is no small achievement:
What you’ve done already is a wonderful thing.”



Poem The First Step - Constantine P Cavafy
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