CONSTANTINE CAVAFY-POEMS

Manolis

cavafy copy

THE HORSES OF ACHILLES

When they saw Patroklos dead
who was so brave and strong and young
the horses of Achilles began to cry;
their immortal nature was outraged
at the sight of this work of death.
They reared up and tossed their long manes
they stamped the ground with their hooves and mourned
Patroklos whom they felt was soulless — devastated —
lifeless flesh now — his spirit gone —
defenseless — without breath —
returned from life to the great Nothing.

Zeus saw the tears of the immortal
horses and felt sad. He said, “At the wedding of Peleus
I shouldn’t have acted so mindlessly;
it would have been better if we had not given you away
my unhappy horses! What need did you have to be
down there among miserable humans, playthings of fate.
You whom death cannot ambush, you who will never grow old
you are…

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