|Yes, I know his new poems;
all Beirut is raving about them.
Iíll study them some other day.
I canít today because Iím rather upset.
Certainly heís more learned in Greek than Libanius.
A better poet than Meleager though? I donít think so.
But Mevis, why talk about Libanius and books
and all these trivialities? Mevis, yesterday I found myself
(it happened by chance) under Simeonís pillar.
I slipped in among the Christians
praying and worshipping in silence there,
revering him. Not being a Christian myself
I couldnít share their spiritual peaceó
I trembled all over and suffered;
I shuddered, disturbed, terribly moved.
Please donít smile; for thirty-five yearsóthink of itó
winter and summer, night and day, for thirty-five years
heís been living and suffering on top of a pillar.
Before either of us was born (Iím twenty-nine,
you must be younger than I am),
before we were born, just imagine it.
Simeon climbed up his pillar
and has stayed there ever since facing God.
Iím in no mood for work todayó
but Mevis, I think it better that you report this:
whatever the other sophists may say,
I at least recognize Lamon
as Syriaís leading poet.
|Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard|
|(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992) |
|- Original Greek Poem