08 January 2008


by: C.P. Cavafy

When you start on your journey to Ithaka
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Do not fear Laistrygonians,
and the Cyclops 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 Laistrygonians,
the Cyclops, and the fierce wild 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 encounter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasures, such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.
Always keep Ithaka fixed in your mind.
To arrive, 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 Ithaka will offer you riches.
Ithaka has given your a 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, Ithaka has not defrauded you.
With great wisdom you have gained,
with so much experience,
you must sure have understood by then
what Ithakas mean.

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