Friday, January 13, 2012

Ithaka by Constantine P. Cavafy

I wanted to share one more poem with you that I found particularly meaningful to me at this stage in my life.  Perhaps it will resonate with some of you as well.

Ithaka by Constantine P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and 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 and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon --- you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors 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 gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not 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 will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.


  1. Besides Desiderata, this poem is one of the ones I quote to myself the most. It inspires me to lead as good and full a life as possible. Thank you for posting it today!

  2. I too have published Ithaka on my blog; I found that hardly anybody knows Cavafy. Perhaps we should change that?

  3. I'm not very well versed on poetry but I did enjoy reading this.

  4. I love Mr. Cavafy; I love this poem. Thank you so much for sharing it, Molly.

  5. I haven't read much poetry, but this one made me think. Thanks for sharing.

    Love your new blog design:)

  6. This is such a wonderful poem. It was recited at Jackie Kennedy's funeral, which was the first time I heard it. Thank you, Molly, for sharing it here with us.

  7. That is a great way to look at the journey of life!


Related Posts with Thumbnails