The Photograph Hidden
In this obscene photograph sold secretly
in the street (so the policeman won’t see)
in this lewd photograph,
how could there be such a dream-like face?
How did you get in there?
Who knows what a degrading, vulgar life you lead;
how horrible the surroundings must have been
when you posed to have this picture taken;
what a cheap soul you must have.
But in spite of all this, and even more, you remain for me
the dream-like face, the figure
shaped for and dedicated to the Greek kind of sensual pleasure—
that’s how you remain for me
and how my poetry speaks about you.

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