the regrets were never firm

The years of my youth, my pleasure-bent existence--
how plainly do I see their meaning now.

What useless, foolish regrets...

But I didn't see their meaning then.

In the dissolute life I led in my youth
my poetry's designs took shape;
the boundaries of my art were drawn.

That is why the regrets were never firm.
And my resolutions--to master myself, to change--
would last for two weeks at the most.

[C.P. Cavafy, 'Comprehension', from Poems {Everyman's Library}]

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