cavafyPoetry has the ability to transcend time, as this short lyric by Constantine Cavafy, a Greek poet who died in 1938.


Without consideration,without pity, without shame,
they have built big and high walls around me.

And now I sit here despairing.
I think of nothing else: this fate gnaws at my mind;

for I had many things to do outside.
Ah, why didn’t I observe them when they were building the walls?

But I never heard the noise or the sound of the builders.
Imperceptibly they shut me out of the world.

C. P. Cavafy
Translated by Rae Dalven