At the back of the noisy café
bent over a table sits an old man;
a newspaper in front of him, without company.And in the scorn of his miserable old age
he ponders how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, and the power of the word, and good looks.
He knows he has aged much; he feels it, he sees it.
And yet the time he was young seems
like yesterday. How short a time, how short a time.
And he ponders how Prudence deceived him;
and how he always trusted her — what a folly! –
that liar who said: “Tomorrow. There is ample time.”
He remembers the impulses he curbed; and how much
joy he sacrificed. Every lost chance
now mocks his senseless wisdom.
…But from so much thinking and remembering
the old man gets dizzy. And falls asleep
bent over the café table.
Constantine P. Cavafy (1897)