Constantine P. Cavafy

29 April 1863 – 29 April 1933 / Alexandria

Of Coloured Glass

I'm very moved by one detail
in the coronation at Vlachernai of John Kantakuzinos
and Irini, daughter of Andronikos Asan.
Because they had only a few precious stones
(our afflicted empire was extremely poor)
they wore artificial ones: numerous pieces of glass,
red, green, or blue. I find
nothing humiliating or undignified
in those little pieces of coloured glass.
Just the opposite: they seem
a sad protest against
the unjust misfortune of the couple being crowned,
symbols of what they deserved to have,
of what surely it was right that they should have
at their coronation -a Lord John Kantakuzinos,
a Lady Irini, daughter of Andronikos Asan.
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