Friday, July 9, 2010

Constantine Cavafy: ITHACA - ΙΘΑΚΗ

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

Laestrygonians 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.

Laestrygonians 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 morning
When with what pleasure what joy
You come into harbours seen 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 are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all
Better if it lasts for years
So that you are old by the time you reach the island
Wealthy with all you have gained on the way
Not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca gave you the marvellous 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 will have understood by then
What these Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)