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November 29th, 2010 | Cyprus

Ithaca…

I have completed the previous posting now, and added a video clip that shows a bit of our ride through Cyprus…

This posting refers to the poem that Romos read to me while we ate lunch in a mountain village…

*****

Ithaca is an island off the mainland of Greece…

In Homer’s Odyssey, it is the home of the Greek hero, Odysseus, or Ulysses as he was known in Roman myths…

The poem was written in 1911 by the Greek poet Kavafis, and centres mainly on the Odysseus’s long journey home following the fall of Troy….

It took Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca, and the poem is a metaphor and a lesson about about travel and long journeys…

Ithaca…

As you set out for Ithaca
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – don’t 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 excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, 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 your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours 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 Ithaca 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’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca 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, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

by Konstantinos Kavafis (1911)


Here’s hoping we all find our “Ithaca’s” some day… For me, the long journey to my own “Ithaca” continues…

Thank you once again, Romos…

©GBWT 2010

2 comments to Ithaca…

  • Mark Behr

    The word Ithaca has its origin in that “which is unchanged”. I hope that while your determination to succeed remains unchanged, your heart will be changed by the people you meet.
    Go well and be safe !

  • My favorite poem with meanings that are so deep.
    Η Ιθάκη σε περιμένει … αρκεί να την βρεις!

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