Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ithaca | Constantine P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaca
hope that your journey is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not 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 sensation
touches your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and 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 that your journey is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors 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 learn again from those who know.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so that you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

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

- C. P. Cavafy's poem 'Ithaca' (1910, 1911)


[YOUTUBE] listen the recitation of the poem and watch the beautiful accompanying images. Recited by Sir Sean Connery and with music specially composed by Vangelis. Scenes taken from Ron Fricke's film 'Baraka'.

. About Ithaca, the island via Wikipedia
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