Friday, September 04, 2009

sometimes i need a reminder


Ithaca

When you start on  your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithacas mean.

Constantine Cavafy
1911

11 comments:

Maria-Thérèse said...

But I DID meet a cyclop today and I assure you I didn't create it in my own mind. It was standing at a bus stop out in the real world. *argues with poem even though I do sort of like it but it annoys me as well because I want to have things right away and not have to learn along the way*

An Open Heart said...

Thank you.

S

rayfamily said...

Wonderful! Thank You.

Char said...

nice choice there - haven't read that one before (that I remember)

Lynne said...

I loved this! Hadn't seen it before. And love, love, love the pic!

Elizabeth said...

I take this one on the road with me.

Chiara.u said...

more or less is what we all are looking for in this moment I think...
didn't know this poet, now I do! thanks for sharing :))
beatiful pic!

heidikins said...

Love!

xox

paris parfait said...

One of my favourite poems, ever!

Bee said...

Laurence Durrell introduced me to Cavafy when I was 21. This is such a great poem to revisit. Very inspiring to remember that it is the journey and the destination both.

SE'LAH... said...

love this poem. thanks.