The Mirror in the Front Hall The Canon
The luxurious house had a huge mirror
in the front hall, a very old mirror,
bought at least eighty years ago.
A very handsome boy, a tailor’s assistant
(on Sundays an amateur athlete),
stood there with a package. He gave it
to one of the household who took it in
to get the receipt. The tailor’s assistant
was left alone, waiting there.
He went up to the mirror, looked at himself,
and adjusted his tie. Five minutes later
they brought him the receipt. He took it and went away.
But the old mirror that had seen so much
during a life of many years—
thousands of objects and faces—
the old mirror was all joy now,
proud to have embraced
total beauty for a few moments.

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

- Translation by Daniel Mendelsohn