AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Even if you can’t shape your life
the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.
Do not degrade it by dragging it along,
taking it around and exposing it so often
to the daily silliness
of social relations and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on.
Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933)
Translated by Edmund Keeley
and Philip Sherrard