Simeon Hidden
Yes, I know his new poems;
all Beirut is raving about them.
Ill study them some other day.
I cant today because Im rather upset.
Certainly hes more learned in Greek than Libanius.
A better poet than Meleager though? I dont think so.
But Mevis, why talk about Libanius and books
and all these trivialities? Mevis, yesterday I found myself
(it happened by chance) under Simeons pillar.
I slipped in among the Christians
praying and worshipping in silence there,
revering him. Not being a Christian myself
I couldnt share their spiritual peace
I trembled all over and suffered;
I shuddered, disturbed, terribly moved.
Please dont smile; for thirty-five yearsthink of it
winter and summer, night and day, for thirty-five years
hes been living and suffering on top of a pillar.
Before either of us was born (Im 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.
Im in no mood for work today
but Mevis, I think it better that you report this:
whatever the other sophists may say,
I at least recognize Lamon
as Syrias 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