11 July 2007

Finding Ithaca




It seems to me that the news readers of CNN and MSNBC are doing their best to sell the American public a whole load of manure with the be afraid, be very afraid messages based on Chertoff's gut. Why anyone would waste even one second being disturbed by "it might happen" is beyond me. The following is a much better way to live. It was read at the funeral of Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis as a tribute to the way she conducted her life.


Ithaca

by Constatine Cavafy

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca 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 many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all 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 have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

4 comments:

Danielle said...

I am a big fan of The Odyssey, yep a fan of the classics. I have never read this poem before, and I do so thank you for sharing.

I published a podcast if you're interested.

Be well and enjoy the day.

Linda said...

Wow.

Travis said...

Excellent. And I concur.

Rhian / Crowwoman said...

this is perfect lines to match my recent mood:
"But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches."

Brilliant and beautiful and true.
thanks!