My wonderful pal Drew told me the other day that he was reading the Greek poet C.P Cavafy‘s work and one of his favorite poems was Hidden Things. Then he promptly read it out loud to me over the phone and I was riveted. I remembered that I had a book of Cavafy’s and went to look for it on the shelf. Finding it, I realized we had different translations and then we read them to each other line by line, liking bits and pieces of each. Below is the 1975 version translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.
From all I did and all I said
let no one try to find out who I was.
An obstacle was there that changed the pattern
of my actions and the manner of my life.
An obstacle was often there
to stop me when I’d begin to speak.
From my most unnoticed actions,
my most veiled writing—
from these alone will I be understood.
But maybe it isn’t worth so much concern,
so much effort to discover who I really am.
Later, in a more perfect society,
someone else made just like me
is certain to appear and act freely.