Constantine Cavafy

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The Poseidonians forgot the Greek language
after so many centuries of mingling
with Tyrrhenians, Latins, and other foreigners.
The only thing surviving from their ancestors
was a Greek festival, with beautiful rites,
with lyres and flutes, contests and wreaths.
And it was their habit toward the festival's end
to tell each other about their ancient customs
and once again to speak Greek names
that only few of them still recognized.
And so their festival always had a melancholy ending
because they remembered that they too were Greeks,
they too once upon a time were citizens of Magna Graecia;
and how low they'd fallen now, what they'd become,
living and speaking like barbarians,
cut off so disastrously from the Greek way of life.

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  • minnakeller900

    Really enjoyed this poem! Makes you think about how quickly cultures can fade away and be forgotten 😢 Appreciate the bittersweet tone.

    • glennandina

      I rmemeber readin this poem wen I was yunger, it's kind of sad hwo history can get lost over time.

      • LikePoems

        The ending of this poem really resonated with me. It's poignant to think of how the Poseidonians, once proud Greeks, felt a sense of loss over their own heritage. They're keeping a tradition alive, yet there's a deep sadness because it's all so unfamiliar to them now. It's a commentary on the inevitable effects of time and cultural assimilation.