The Satrapy

( - )

Such a shame! Though destined
for great things, your wretched destiny
always unfairly betrayed you,
denying you both cheer and success,
baffled by commonplace trivialities,
by pettifogerry and by indifference.
An evil day it is when you succumb
(the day you let yourself succumb)
and take the Royal Road to Susa
and offer fealty to King Artaxerxes
who kindly grants you courtly sinecures,
proffering satrapies and other suchlike gifts,
which you accept in desperation --
these baubles which mean nothing to you.
Your soul hungers and craves for other things:
for the acclaim of City and Sophists,
that priceless, hard-fought for adulation,
for the Agora, Theatre and Laurel Wreaths.
How can an Artaxerxes give these to you,
where will you find them in your satrapy
and what will life be worth without them?

John Stathatos - Γιάννης Σταθάτος
Original Author 
Constantine Kavafis