Tuesday, January 11, 2011

868. But Wise Men Apprehend What Is Imminent - C. P. Cavafy

Translated from the Greek by Daniel Mendelsohn

"The gods perceive what lies in the future, and mortals, what occurs in the present, but wise men apprehend what is imminent."
-Philostratus, Life of Apolloniur of Tyans, VII, 7

Mortal men perceive things as they happen.
What lies in the future the gods perceive,
full and sole possessors of all enlightenment.
Of all the future holds, wise men apprehend
what is imminent. Their hearing,

sometimes, in moments of complete
absorption in their studies, is disturbed. The secret call
of events that are about to happen reaches them.
And they listen to it reverently. While in the street
outside, the people hear nothing at all.