Monday, September 15, 2008

On My Way Out

Let me remember the meaning of Ithaka.


As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery,
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with your pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind -
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

~ C.P. Cavafy (translated from the Greek by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)


Doc Martian said...

ok. now you've gotta pick up the alexandria quartet. lots of cavafy references in there.

Bon Voyage!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful poem! Have a good trip. I can't wait to hear your first impressions.

darkorpheus said...

Doc - Book is at home, in a box

Stefanie - My laptop is a little screwy on the wireless, so it may take some time before I can upload pictures.

dizzy_leaf said...

hey, how's the weather there?

Melwyk said...

Good luck, good luck, good luck!!

Doc Martian said...

hee hee hee. i was kidding. ;)