September 30, 2013 Ithaca

Went to a wedding this weekend on the island.  The father of the groom read this poem.  Not much to add, it says it all.  For years, I always said and live this – life is a journey, not a destination.  Make the journey worthwhile.

Where/What is your Ithaca?  

 

Ithaca

Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933), translated by Rae Dalven

 

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 Ithaca means.

 

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