City with the loveliest name, Syracuse;

don't let me forget the dim

antiquity of your side streets, the pouting balconies

that once caged Spanish ladies,

the way the sea breaks on Ortygia's walls.

Plato met defeat here, escaped with his life,

what can be said about us, unreal tourists.

Your cathedral rose atop a Greek temple

and still grows, but very slowly,

like the heavy pleas of beggars and widows.

At midnight fishing boats radiate

sharp light, demanding prayers

for the perished, the lonely, for you,

city abandoned on a continent's rim,

and for us, imprisoned in our travels.

By Adam Zagajewski; Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh