“Ithaka” by Constantine P. Cavafy * – a poem which reminds us that the journey is far richer and more engaging than the destination itself. Suggested by Deborah Heller.
“…..As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one
full of adventure, full of discovery.
…..Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing 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 go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.”
* Constantine Petrou Cavafy, pseudonym of Konstantínos Pétrou Kaváfis, (born April 29, 1863, Alexandria, Egypt—died April 29, 1933, Alexandria), Greek poet who developed his own consciously individual style and thus became one of the most important figures not only in Greek poetry but in Western poetry as well. (www.britannica.com/biography/Constantine-P-Cavafy)
More of his poems: cavafis.compupress.gr/kave_17b.htm