I visited the Guarnacci Museum in Volterra in March, 2010, and saw these twelve funerary stones. [I posted the wrong location earlier – thanks Krista C.S. for correcting me!]
Two years later, this poem by C. P. Cavafy found me. It all seems right together.
But the Wise Perceive Things about to Happen
by C. P. Cavafy
“For the gods perceive future things,
ordinary people things in the present, but
the wise perceive things about to happen.”
Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana, viii, 7.
Ordinary people know what’s happening now,
the gods know future things
because they alone are totally enlightened.
Of what’s to come the wise perceive
things about to happen.
Sometimes during moments of intense study
their hearing’s troubled: the hidden sound
of things approaching reaches them,
and they listen reverently, while in the street outside
the people hear nothing whatsoever.
(Trans. by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard, from the Cavafy online archive)