Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Voices of the Past


Imagined voices, and beloved, too,
of those who died, or of those who are
lost unto us like the dead.

Sometimes in our dreams they speak to us;
sometimes in its thought the mind will hear them.

And with their sound for a moment there return
sounds from the first poetry of our life--
like music, in the night, far off, that fades away.

(C.P. Cavafy; trans. Mendelsohn)

I kind of see what I do as a historian/historicist/literary critic of antiquity as speaking with the lost voices of the past. Their literary traces are like ghosts that haunt the present.

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