Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Mirror in the Entrance by Constantine P. Cavafy


The Mirror in the Entrance

In the entrance hallway of that sumptuous home
there was an enormous mirror, very old;
acquired at least eighty years ago.
A strikingly beautiful boy, a tailor's assistant,
(on Sunday afternoons, an amateur athlete),
was standing with a package. He handed it
to one of the household, who then went back inside
to fetch a receipt. The tailor's assistant
remained alone, and waited.
He drew near the mirror, and stood gazing at himself,
and straightening his tie. Five minutes later
they brought him the receipt. He took it and left.
But the ancient mirror, which had seen and seen again,
throughout its lifetime of so many years,
thousands of objects and faces—
but the ancient mirror now became elated,
inflated with pride, because it had received upon itself
perfect beauty, for a few minutes.


(Translation by Daniel Mendelsohn)

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