Ithika

 

ITHIKA           C.P. Cavafy

(1863-1933)

 

Setting out on the voyage to Ithaka
pray that the way be long,
full of adventures and  experiences.
The Laistrygonians, and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon — don’t be afraid of them — you’ll will never find such things on your way
if only your thoughts be high and a select emotion touch your spirit and your body

The Laistrygonians, and the Cyclops,
 Poseidon raging — you will never meet them — unless you carry within your soul — if your soul
doesn’t rise them up before you.

You must pray that the way be long. Many be the summer mornings — when, 
with what pleasure, and what delight, — you enter harbors never seen before.
At Phoenician trading stations 
you must stop and must acquire good merchandise:
 mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of every kind,
as much as you can get of sensous perfumes.

You must go to many cities of Egypt, 
to learn and still to learn from those who know  You must always have Ithika in your mind. Arrival is your predestination.

But don’t hurry the journey at all. 
Better that it should last many years. Be quite old when you anchor at the island,
rich with all you have gained on you way, 
not expecting Ithaka to give you riches.

Poor though you may find it, Ithika’s not cheated you, wise as you have become, with all your experience, you will have understood the meaning of an Ithika.

Ithaka has given you your lovely journey.
Without Ithika you  set out. 
Ithika has no more to give you now.

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