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.