In celebration of National Poetry Month, every day we're posting a new poem from the spoken-word album Poetic License, a three-CD set that features one hundred performers of stage and screen reading one hundred poems selected by the actors themselves. From Shakespeare and Dickinson to Lucille Clifton and Allen Ginsberg, the lineup spans contemporary American poetry and classics of the Western canon.
Constantine Petrou Cavafy (1863–1933) was a Greek poet whose work, which he distributed primarily to family and friends in privately published pamphlets and broadsides, was largely unknown until after his death. Several collections of his poetry have recently been published, translated by writers including Aliki Barnstone and Daniel Mendelsohn. Today is the anniversary of Cavafy's birth, and also of his death, in Alexandria, Egypt.
Daniel Davis, who portrayed Niles the butler in the television series The Nanny, has appeared on Broadway stages in La Cage aux Folles, The Invention of Love, Wrong Mountain, and Othello, among other plays.
"Waiting for the Barbarians" by C. P. Cavafy, from Poetic License produced by Glen Roven. Copyright © 2010 by GPR Records. Used with permission of GPR Records.