Sculptor of Tyana The Canon
As you’ll have heard, I’m no beginner.
I’ve handled a lot of stone in my time,
and in my own country, Tyana, I’m pretty well known.
Actually, senators here have also commissioned
a number of statues from me.
                        Let me show you
a few of them. Notice this Rhea:
reverential, all fortitude, very old.
Notice Pompey. And Marius here,
and Paulus Aemilius, and Scipio Africanus.
The likeness as close as I could make it.
And Patroklos (I still have to touch him up a bit).
Near those pieces of yellowish marble there
stands Kaisarion.
And for some time now I’ve been busy
working on a Poseidon. I’m studying
his horses in particular: how to shape them exactly.
They have to be made so light
that it’s clear their bodies, their legs,
are not touching the earth but galloping over water.
But here’s my favorite work,
wrought with the utmost care and feeling.
This one—it was a summer day, very hot,
and my mind rose to ideal things—
this one came to me in a vision, this young Hermes.

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 John Cavafy