Tyanan sculptor

C. P. Cavafy

As you might have heard, I am no novice.
Ample stone passes between my hands.
And in my country, Tyana, they know
me well. And here the senators
commissioned many statues from me.

Let me show you some now.
Look at this Rhea:
August, all endurance, primal.
Look at Pompey. Marius,
Aemilius Paullus, Scipio Africanus.
Faithful – as much as I could – likenesses.
Patroclus (I’ll retouch him a little).
By the yellowish marble
blocks there, is Caesarion.

And for some time now I’ve been intent
on making a Poseidon. I’m thinking
mostly about his horses, how to make them.
They must be made delicate, so that
their bodies, their feet clearly show
that they don’t contact the ground, but gallop on the swell.

But here is my most beloved work
which I slaved over feverishly and most carefully:
this one, one hot summer day
when my mind lifted to ideal things,
I dreamt of this man here, the young Hermes.

[Published 1911]

Original Greek Poem

Morning sea

C. P. Cavafy

I’ll stand here. I’ll too watch nature awhile.
Brilliant purples of the morning sea
and cloudless sky, and yellow shore:
all beautiful and fully luminous.

I’ll stand here. And pretend that I’m seeing this
(I really saw it for a moment when first standing)
and not here, too, my fancies,
my memories, the comforts of pleasure.

[Published 1915]

Original Greek Poem

Tomb of Lysias the grammarian

C. P. Cavafy

Close by, on the right as you enter,
in the Beirut Library we buried wise Lysias,
the grammarian. The space is very appropriate.
We placed him by his devices that he remembers
perhaps even there – commentaries, texts, concordances,
scripts, many works on Greek idiom.
And this way, too, his tomb will be seen by us
and honoured, as we pass by to the books.

[Written 1911; Published 1914]

Original Greek Poem