Archive for the ‘ithaca’ Category

Since I posted the poem Ithaca by C.P. Cavafy in May 2007, it has been the most sought after and most read poem on this site, garnering 1,720 views. Karl Mikelsons just wrote in to the comments section of the posting and pointed me to this fantastic reading of the poem by Sean Connery.

Only one year ago I was working at a job that felt like dying. My dear friend Anders Hansen, a Philadelphia artist sent me the poem and I immediately fell in love with it. As many of you have as well. It helped me keep a sense of perspective as I grappled with the “Lestrygonians” of my daily existence.

This year I found the perfect job and just spent the whole summer traveling through Europe and opening myself up to the journey. Once again, Ithaca reminds me on how best to go through the world, literally and metaphorically.

Enjoy the video!

The link to the original posting.


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When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithacas mean.

-K. P. Kavafis (C. P. Cavafy), translation by Rae Dalven

Here is wonderful video accompanying a reading of “Ithaca” by Sean Connery.

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