"Ithaca" By Konstantinos P. Kavafis

Sunday, March 31, 2013

When you leave for Ithaca,
may your journey be long
and full of adventures and knowledge.

Do not be afraid of Laestrigones, Cyclopes
or furious Poseidon;
you won’t come across them on your way
if you don’t carry them in your soul,
if your soul does not put them in front of your steps.

I hope your road is long.

May there be many a summer morning,
and may ports for the first time seen
bring you great joy.

May you stop at Phoenician marts,
to purchase there the best of wares,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber, ebony,
hedonic perfumes of all sorts;

may you go to various Egyptian towns
and learn from a people with so much to teach.

Don’t lose sight of Ithaca,
for that’s your destination.
But take your time;
better that the journey lasts many a year
and that your boat only drops anchor on the island
when you have grown rich
with what you learned on the way.

Don’t expect Ithaca to give you many riches.
Ithaca has already given you a fine voyage;
without Ithaca you would never have parted.
Ithaca gave you everything and can give you no more.
If in the end you think that Ithaca is poor,
don’t think that she has cheated you.
Because you have grown wise and lived an intense life,
and that’s the meaning of Ithaca.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • EN10011
    There is a website where Lawrence Olivier recites this poem in English with music by Vangelis and with Elli Lambeti in Greek- they are breathtaking



    1879 days ago
    Beautiful words. Thanks for posting this. emoticon
    1881 days ago
    Thanks for this beautiful poem. The theme of the journey is such an important part of becoming healthier individuals, be whether we at first define our destination as a place or a number.
    1882 days ago
    K! This blog is wonderful!
    Did you translate this poem?
    We never want to take the long journey. (If it is weightloss or emotional healing or acceptance or whatever Ithaca is for each of us)
    Thank you for making me see that a long journey is a blessing.
    1882 days ago
    Loved the blog . . . I live in Ithaca, NY!
    1882 days ago
    Nice! Makes me want to go there!
    1882 days ago
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