This poet very seldom writes what we usually think of as love poetry; his verse, which if anything tends to be about desire, is also—if not primarily—about the way in which the passage of time makes possible the poetry about desire that we are reading.


What is of interest to Cavafy is not so much individual beauty, but the idea of beauty itself—what happens to it when it is filtered through the passage of many years.

Daniel Mendelsohn, introduction to C. P. Cavafy, Collected Poems, translated by Daniel Mendelsohn