Tyanan sculptor

C. P. Cavafy

As you might have heard, I am no novice.
Ample stone passes between my hands.
And in my country, Tyana, they know
me well. And here the senators
commissioned many statues from me.

Let me show you some now.
Look at this Rhea:
August, all endurance, primal.
Look at Pompey. Marius,
Aemilius Paullus, Scipio Africanus.
Faithful – as much as I could – likenesses.
Patroclus (I’ll retouch him a little).
By the yellowish marble
blocks there, is Caesarion.

And for some time now I’ve been intent
on making a Poseidon. I’m thinking
mostly about his horses, how to make them.
They must be made delicate, so that
their bodies, their feet clearly show
that they don’t contact the ground, but gallop on the swell.

But here is my most beloved work
which I slaved over feverishly and most carefully:
this one, one hot summer day
when my mind lifted to ideal things,
I dreamt of this man here, the young Hermes.

[Published 1911]

Original Greek Poem